Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fieling Good

I know, I promised to stop using the nickname, but this is so Fielgood:
Seeking to lower the temperature and end the discussion, Council President Arnie Fielkow said Willard-Lewis had raised a good point. He added that the council will soon hire a consultant to review the administration's proposals and, as part of that review, will hold public meetings on the issue.

In fairness, the discussion probably needed to be tabled. However, as I read yesterday's article about the dispute over TIF's, I thought, "this calls for a consultant." After all, the city has plenty enough money to get the best possible opinions that money can buy, even if we just pay somebody half a million to read, and probably water down, an old BGR report. Anyway, what's more important, consultants or code enforcement?

I don't want to be too hard on Fielkow because the city obviously needs a policy on TIFs, and Willard-Lewis has legitimate concerns. But, the tendency to hire consultants to make every difficult decision is either blatantly irresponsible or just cowardly. I hate to keep bringing up the same, but we've been hearing about the city demolishing the wrong houses while truly blighted houses go uncited for almost a year -- the rest of the country noticed nine months ago. If budgeting and manpower decisions don't have something to do with this, something is really wrong.

I can't recommend the BGR report strongly enough. Every section of the city seems to need its own TIF lately, but that won't leave much for the city as a whole, unless the magic TIF wand produces an exploding pie. Since the BGR has its own biases, similar criticisms can be found here and here.

All I want to know is which fat-cat business and CWL campaign contributor was counting on 100% public funding.
The old BGR report mentions two big proposals for her district that have been around for years. Just because I said CWL has a legitimate concern don't think I don't suspect she has somebody in mind.

Without a cap are limits on TIFs, Blakely's plan is little more than "let the market decide," but letting it decide with government help, IMO.

Actually, I hadn't read the BGR report until Saturday. I was surprised at how much I agreed with it. I think there needs to be some kind of cap agreed upon before any more TIFs are approved. Individual TIFs always sound wonderful, too many leave a city broke.
To be fair, I didn't see anybody that has anything to do with the old Plaza shopping center site on her donor list. But I don't know all the names involved and I didn't go over it too thoroughly. Even without anything untoward going on, one problem is that politicians will support anything that supposedly brings businesses and jobs to their districts.
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