Below you will find a copy of my now once-per-month column for the CdA Press which ran in the paper just over a week ago. This time I decided to write about the Midtown businesses that are struggling through the construction on their streets and sidewalks. I was trying to be supportive of small business in general, during this terrible economy, but wanted to specifically direct everyone’s attention to the need for customers in Midtown.
I wrote one sentence about the Mayor: “...the mayor stated there will be emergency access only on 4th street.”
Within hours of its publication, the mayor was on the phone to the paper, claiming she didn’t say anything about the closure of 4th Street. Later the same day, the City Clerk was enlisted to call the paper and complain about my column, saying the staff at City Hall listened to a tape recording of the city council meeting and the mayor never made mention of the construction, but instead called on others to give that information.
Does this seem like a bit of overreaction? It did to me.
So I got a DVD of the July 7th city council meeting in order to quote word-for-word. You decide for yourselves: (if you haven’t read my original column, below, you might want to read it first)
Here are some direct quotes from the meeting:
The Mayor said: "I think we all thought, to some degree, one lane was going to be open a lot more, whether we misunderstood or whatever, but I think that happened."
City councilman Ron Edinger said to Gordon Dobler, city engineer: "I know things happen that sometimes you can't fulfill basically what you said you would do. But I know when I attended some of the meetings, the biggest concern of the midtown people was about leaving one lane of traffic open. That was their biggest concern. The way it sounds, that hasn't happened."
Gordon's response: "Not to the extent we thought it would, correct."
Then Ron added: "And wasn't the project supposed to be finished in August and now someone said October?"
The SafeCo construction representative explained, earlier in the meeting, that even though the "spec was written and there is terminology in there that does say one lane will be open except during major events, it also says if the contractor has a better work plan that will benefit the city, whether it be time savings or monetarily, that they would look at that."
So there you have it. Make up your own minds. Was I bashing the mayor or supporting the Midtown businesses?
Can you tell there’s an election coming up this November, where the mayor and three council members will be up for a vote? (the Mayor, Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers)
It’s been a busy two weeks but we need to stay vigilant about the local concerns of our community and the national issues of our country. Somehow they seem to mirror each other in an unsettling way...more about that later.
Have a great weekend! ---Mary