Saturday, June 9, 2012

Action and Reaction

Let's start with some good news. On Tuesday, there is to be a discussion of removing a member of the Budget Oversight Board, Scott Greenwald. This is a needed move. Greenwald is suing the city to force us to grant a strip club license in violation of our code, he is by far the biggest tax deadbeat in our city, owing over $1.5 million dollars in unpaid taxes, and is the city's landlord. He has no business on the Budget Oversight Board. 

 The mayor gets credit for having the political courage to put this on the agenda and she needs your support. If you want to see the city run more for the residents than the contributors, show up on Tuesday and let our commission kmow that they do not stand alone when they go against entrenched interests. If you cannot get to the meeting on Tuesday, or even if you can, take a moment to write to the mayor Connie Kreps and thank her for putting this forward. Her email address is cleonkreps @ nbvillage.com. 

 Seriously, take a minute and thank her. I have often disagreed with the mayor but we can't be the sort of people who do not support when she gets it right. 

 You'll notice I called this piece "Action and Reaction". The other night I was watching the "Daily Show" and Jon Stewart did a piece on the faux outrage in the presidential election, where partisans are saying bringing up someone's past actions is not "fair". 

 Of course it's ridiculous. We trust people based on what they say, how they present themselves and what they've done. If any of these are off, most importantly what they've done, we have no good reason to trust them. 

 I mention this in the light of the strip club revision proposed by the city attorney. The ordinance revision is good. It's clearer, more solid than the previous version, and addresses many of specific problems that the city had in the last hearing. 

 My mistrust is not of the ordinance but of the city attorney's previous actions. Let's face it. They did not really step up to the plate in the past. 

 Some examples: 

 In the first go around of the hearing, way back in October 2010, the city attorney approved an attempt to convene a second meeting after P&Z rejected the proposal for a strip club. It was only when the audience objected that the attorneys "remembered" that the Sunshine Law requires a meeting have notice.  

 The city attorney in that same month approved a dual special meeting of P&Z and the commission to push through the strip club and instructed the P&Z board that they had to vote "Yes". It was only the citizens again who demanded it be stopped. 

 In 2011, the city attorney was unfamiliar with the measurement requirements of the ordinance and unwilling to offer an opinion on the scope of the city planner's discretion. 

 So when the city attorney last month proposed the revision to the ordinance, then refused to answer questions about the revisions even when directed to by the chair, it was a bad move.  Now we are being told, "just trust us." but we are missing the experience of confidence with the city attorney on this subject.    

I understand there will be a special meeting to discuss the new ordinance. If it does not have a sponsor who is not the city attorney, then it needs to be tabled. I hope that a commissioner will take up sponsorship so there can be proper and full discussion. The city attorney should not be sponsoring legislation at all, no matter how good the piece is, as this one appears to be. 

 Below is the agenda for Tuesday. And again, don't forget to let the mayor know you support her move to take Greenwald off the Budget Board. 

 Kevin Vericker 

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