Sunday, November 27, 2005
Well, It's a Done Deal
Councilperson Compora has made the paper a few times lately, on purpose and not-so-on-purpose. I can only hope that Ms. Compora will put her personal feelings aside and represent the city and its citizens respectfully and professionally as she was re-elected to do. It may help to remind her that 2,320 citizens did not vote for her re-election so perhaps she could be mindful of the rest of the city's citizens who are not her neighbors.
The last council meeting seemed a little more subdued. One piece of business they discussed a little and then voted on was the $700,000 bonding issue that the DDA "recommended." I have a bad feeling about the DDA's "recommendation" to put the DDA in debt for 20 years when have not seen a financial statement in around two years. It seems odd to me that seemingly responsible business people would commit the taxpayers to such a large debt without seeing the books and just taking the word of the mayor and our city staff that its OK.
It also seems a little odd to me that the projects proposed didn't make the top of the list of the suggested projects in the mayor's community visioning process that was held last April. Know what was number one? Parking deck. (A close second was an upscale restaurant - well, that's just about to come true - in spite of, not because of the city.) So, if the community's input was important and the participating citizens were truly thinking of their hopes and dreams and expectations for our downtown (and the "evil" merchants were hopelessly outnumbered) why are we going into debt for these particular projects?
The project that I have the most problem with is the Altrusa Park expense. This is a little park that will accomodate about 50 people or so on a good day and they want to put in bathrooms (they'll have to be handicap accessible, of course) which will take up even more space and will they be locked or unlocked and who's cleaning them? (How are we doing with the bathrooms at St. Mary's Park regarding accessibility and cleanliness right now, by the way?)
This project reminds me of a teenage boy with his first car who puts all his money into a cool paint job and a stereo instead of making sure he's got the money for the next car payment and insurance.
Oh, and since the City (Port of Monroe) is now the happy owner of the old United Furniture building on E. First perhaps they could consider putting the public bathrooms inside that building instead where perhaps it could be more accessible and user-friendly (especially in the winter).
So tell me again how much economic development this particular project is bringing to downtown to warrant such a large financial commitment for so many years? Wouldn't a parking deck to address the community's parking negatives about downtown investment be a little more appropriate and beneficial to encourage investment than another "cute" cosmetic project? Do you want to invest your life savings in a business in downtown because the DDA/City dumped a quarter of a million bucks to dress up that little hole in the wall (I thought our professional planners don't like holes in the buildingscape?) or would you feel better about the city finally seriously addressing parking with the expected tax income from the MB&T project?
Altrusa Park, such that it is right now, was developed as a project by the non-profit service group. Why couldn't it be possible to partner with them and/or other non-profits and interested parties to improve that area?
Why can't we work together in this community instead of bouncing off of each other?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Wow! Whatya know?
The voters had their say Tuesday.
Now the really hard work will begin.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Well Today's the Day
In Precinct 1 you can choose between Bill Burkett, who has been responsive to his precinct's desires and has kept an eye on the city's finances and has remained true to his union beliefs (not just paying it lip service to get an endorsement) or you can choose Adam Yeager who has his heart in the right place and cares about our taxes and services but has a hard time getting to the point at times.
In Precinct 2 you can choose between Ed Paisley who is eminently qualified professionally to keep an eye on the city's budget and spending and has been involved as a volunteer for numerous downtown activities - he has put his time and his money where his mouth is or you can choose Rick Floraday that some say is a nice enough guy but his main qualification seems to be his relationship with the current mayor.
In Precinct 3 you can choose Dorothy ("I don't roll over for anyone") Edwards who has hidden behind sheets of paper while making an important vote, asking the mayor what she should do and basically underrepresenting her precinct for quite a few years or you can choose a relative unknown, Pat McElligott, with a rabble-rousing reputation.
In Precinct 4 you can choose Jean Guyor who has a very odd definition regarding voting/democracy as evidenced by how she ran the most recent Historical Society Board's election, who likes to offer up meaningless compromise when the deal is done, and doesn't mind throwing around her weight around when it suits her and who hasn't the courage or conviction to vote a city budget so she can later have deniability - and this time she's really going to need it because the current city's budget has gone south in a big way or you can choose John Martin who has lived here most of his life, he's not perfect and doesn't profess to be but is willing to listen to more than one side of any issue and is honest about not knowing all the answers.
In Precinct 5 you can choose between Linda Compora who likes to "vote with the majority because she wants to be a team player" (her words) instead of voting her conscience based on reasoned information from both sides of an issue (just tell me how to vote John) and who seems to enjoy trash-talking instead of talking professionally from an informed position on issues or you can choose Gary Dahl who wants to make a difference in the Building Department or Mary Conner who has respect for those marginalized in our community (especially the poor and seniors who don't have computers to "talk" to the mayor) and has some new ideas regarding sustainability and correct procedures regarding communication so there isn't another disaster like the Vietnam Veterans home miscommunication.
In Precinct 6 you can choose Brian Beneteau, well because he's the only one running (reluctantly) because of the political machinations to remove Sue Wetzel from the picture.
Ah, the mayor, you can choose John Iacoangeli who ran on this whole more open government issue and has instead had more multiple Open Meetings Act infractions than any mayor in recent times, (oh, did I forget the restrictive language he wrote in a city contract to stop any hint of dissension?) his vaunted website (outsourced out of state) has less information especially about city committees (its easier to go throught the city directory and call his neighbors to find out what city committees their serving on) and hopefully you should find out in the next couple of weeks that this current administration has spent around a million bucks (the mayor's pet projects) out of the reserve (regardless of the spin the mayor has advertised) and that they have spent so much money out of the refuse fund (tree leaf pick-up) that we may have another" pizza-size?" tax increase to cover their collective butts. This information has been suggested to be suppressed until after the election by the way. Yeah, John "open and honest government" Iacoangeli. Have you noticed he really is playing that down this time around?
Or you can choose Al Cappuccilli who has the "rap" that nothing got done during his tenure especially if you ignore the Mason Run and the other condo project on reclaimed industrial land, the shut down of IKO, the institution of rental inspections, the multi-sports complex (which is making money - unlike the current mayor's "quality of life improvements" that have cost tens of thousands of dollars with no additional income on the horizon, and never had a single tax increase - matter of fact reduced taxes a couple of times, and didn't alienate a whole bunch of volunteer groups then yeah, I guess if you want to ignore all of that then he didn't get much done.
Well, it's up to the voters and whatever happens I'm sure its what we will deserve.