Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear Majority on the Authority: I'm not the only one questioning the need for a ramrod

After observing last night's discussion of, vote to accept, and motion to reconsider the Mayor's authorization of a new convention center authority, I wondered what the rush was to ramrod approval through so quickly. In an interview with the City Paper's Nate Rau, CM Mike Jameson, who voted with the majority on the authority (which allowed him to move that the council reconsider the vote in two weeks) explains why he is concerned about the rush:
Jameson also said the resolution had been rushed by the administration as a Band-Aid for bad press stemming from a whirlwind of stories concerning invoices turned in by the public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox for the project.

“In the committee meeting today Mr. Riebeling confirmed what he had previously indicated in media reports this was in the works for a long time, that they had planned to do this, but they had accelerated the filing of it because of recent developments with the invoices of the public relations firm,” Jameson said.

“So the concern that I had asked him was, 'Was that true?’ he said yes. And secondly, obviously it was in a rush. In other words, if you weren’t planning on filing it on Friday, which you eventually did when it becomes a public relations concern, there’s no reason the Council needs to vote on this on Tuesday.

“This introduction was reflective of other issues that brought before the Council regarding the convention center. They’re filed, deferrals are argued against, significant decisions are made and the Council doesn’t have time to take these issues out to our civic groups, out to our neighborhood organizations, out to business groups. And we can’t do that any longer.”
To CMs who express concern about having two more weeks to discuss this thanks to an organized minority on the council, I would say that the last two weeks have made it clear that the convention center proposal should be slowly walked through more deliberately and with careful oversight.

This is going to be the biggest project of this Mayor's tenure; the public needs to feel that they are not being sold a bill of goods just to help out the wealthy patrons of the Courthouse elite. We need to feel like our future services and our schools aren't going to be threatened by the Mayor's single-minded, thriftless, and unrestrained approach toward a new convention center.

So, why shouldn't the resolution be allowed to waltz through when it cannot even pass a simple parliamentary test designed to protect the minority on the council?

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