CM Erik Cole said that public transportation was the highest priority in the substitute budget, and the Budget and Finance Committee put money for the bus routes that the Mayor eliminated back into the budget. Substitute budget provides an additional $1,000,000 for MTA. Money was also provided for magnet school students riding MTA.
Vivian Wilhoite told they council that they missed the mark on the issue that they ran on: public safety. She's voting for it, but called it "tough" with regard to supporting fire fighters. Wow. We actually have some debate on the Mayor's budget.
Charlie Tygard thanked the Mayor for his "openness and willingness to listen." He called last year's finance department numbers "bogus reality." Looks like he's using the occasion to continue his vendetta against the Purcell administration. He was out of order for focusing on Purcell and the Vice Mayor didn't stop him. And the symbolism of CM Tygard supporting Mayor Dean is ugly to me.
Michael Craddock also blamed Bill Purcell, saying that the problem was not the council's (oh yeah? What about those discretionary funds that Metro Council was in charge of last term that got spent on very few Metro services, like summer Parks programming?) and not Mayor Dean's. He totally ignored the sidewalks and other infrastructure that got funded under the Purcell administration. It's also an exaggeration to lay this year's budget challenges completely at the feet of the previous administration, which had no control over the tanking of the economy. He should have blamed George W. Bush's inept domestic policy and Republican-controlled Congresses (including the current one that is Democratic in name only).
Well, we got a minuscule amount of debate and the expected absolution and praise of Karl Dean. Substitute budget passed. Next year they won't be able to blame Bill Purcell. He should be free and clear.