Yesterday Diane Neighbors announced council committee appointments for the coming year. Consistent with her appointments of committee chairpeople, none of the seats on the highly coveted and most influential budget and finance committee went to any outspoken critics of Karl Dean's elephantine and titanic Music City Center construction project. The new members are a mayoral soft touch:
Barry, Megan, Chair
Langster, Edith Taylor
Save one, all of these CMs expressed unqualified support for Mayor Dean's plan to obligate the General Fund (thus risking money to pay for anything from sidewalk repair to police protection) to subsidize convention center construction for the tourism special interests. While CM Craddock eventually voted against the plan, he has this project both ways: he joined 6 others appointed to this committee to block MCC critic and Downtown CM Mike Jameson from slowing down the convention center approval process in the wake of Mayor's McNeely Pigott & Fox/news-media-spin fiasco.
Given that this slate looks remarkably like a "Friends of Karl Dean" committee, I would say that Diane Neighbors has guaranteed the Mayor a smooth ride to re-election. It should be an elegant machine. Local wonks in the news media can no longer compare Metro Council to a cat herd. Neither can they compare it to a deliberative body that considers dissent of the minority.