Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Simply Gruesome

There are so many things wrong with the local print coverage of the latest lurid Sylvan Park episode in last night's Council chambers, not the least of which are a lack of some of the more revolting details in the debate and the total absence of a tally of which Council members voted "aye" and "nay."

Some of the more horrid, and yet, ignored details:
  • One overlay opponent during the public hearing referred to "John Summers and his lackeys," leading to an interruption and scolding by Vice Mayor Howard Gentry.
  • Some overlay proponents painted overly romanticized, halcyon pictures of old Sylvan Park with farm animals running around and children riding horses to school; one overlay opponent publicly scoffed at those admittedly maudlin portraits and derided proponents by offering to buy some sheep and goats cattle* and let them loose to roam the neighborhood.
  • Lisa Ferris (who according to one rumor may be a candidate for Metro Council) showed little parliamentary restraint during her address as she went over her time in her remarks and had to be cut off by the Chair.
  • Area Council member John Summers told the Council that Lisa Ferris had taken out a building permit on her house, thus "grandfathering" it in as an exception to the conservation overlay, if passed on third reading. He said that all opponents are free to grandfather their houses in.
  • In true "yes, they are-no, they aren't" fashion that would make a kindergartener proud, opponents continued to insist that all houses would "be regulated" by the overlay, while Summers continued to argue that only those built prior to 1945 would be. Who knows what the truth is.
  • Two proponents insisted that their names were included on the opponents name list as presented to the Council, even after they demanded that their names removed. Summers said that there were people on the opponents' resident list who do not even live in Sylvan Park.
  • Proponents speakers included neighborhood leaders from Richland-West End and Cherokee Park, both of whom stated that conservation overlays had been positive for their neighborhoods, and that many of their concerns beforehand have yet to materialize. This seemed to be the biggest strike against the opponents: they had no neighborhood leaders from elsewhere to testify that fears about conservation overlay in Sylvan Park had materialized elsewhere. That would have really bolstered their case.
  • Council member Buck Dozier complained (along with opponents) about Council member Ginger Hauser's call for the "Previous Question," that brought the Summers bill up for a vote with no further Council debate. (Dozier, who voted against the bill, seemed to get a figurative wink-and-nod from an overlay opponent who said from the public podium, "My kids went to school with Buck.") But parliamentary procedure allows for bill opponents to stop the previous question and defeat the bill. And there is still the third reading of the bill, where this debate could be picked up again.
  • I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard opponents say, "The largest conservation overlay ever," as if it were some kind of indictment. Geez, get off that one; will ya? Somebody's got to be the biggest.
See all the heinous stuff you miss if you rely on the morning papers for details about the Sylvan Park spat?

*Upon further review of the Council meeting, the derisive opponent actually offered to buy cattle. When he originally spoke, I guess I was picturing livestock lesser than cows, steers, and oxen roaming Sylvan Park. Sheep and goats seem sufficient to convey his mockery. Hell, even chickens and ducks would do. The choice of cattle seems like oversell. But nonetheless, I stand corrected.

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