To the Editor-
I have been watching city meetings on the city website since they were first available many years ago. I’ve also been watching this new mayor and city council with great interest since last April’s municipal election and I have to say I’m very disappointed.
First, thank you to the city for providing these meetings via video. It is a big benefit to those of us unable to attend meetings in person and I appreciate it greatly. Whatever the cost of producing these videos for the public, it is worth it.
But I don’t appreciate this city council introducing personal agendas through third parties and attempting to get them passed into law. What we are seeing in city government since the last councilman election is very akin to this.
Not long after being elected, new council members asked for more options for bicyclists and pedestrians on the new Hoover Road overpass. That alone is a good thing, right? In reality those options had already been discussed, and discounted for not being feasible, by the previous council, and were looked at a second time at great expense by the contractor. This council is clueless.
Add to that the fact that this council approved using contingency money (the city’s savings account!) for a tree planting program on Main St. that it didn’t need, and there’s proof right there this group has no clue how to be financially responsible.
Creative crosswalks, bike hitches, new special events in the downtown (but no other part of town, that’s favoritism!), tree planting programs, and now we’re spending all this money to add bike lanes for a group of people who often do not follow to law! Don’t forget we have to pay $100,000 of the new bike lane grant! That money isn’t free! Clueless!
Last year I did attend one meeting where Council Member Mary McComb scoffed at a proposal to add a new parking lot to Mead Park. She claims to have never seen parking issues there, and insisted people could ride their bikes. She obviously has no idea there are thousands of people in this city who have children or commute across town for work. Clueless.
I attended a meeting at Washington [Elementary] School last night [Sept. 15] where a project to cut Stanley St. from four lanes to a two-lane with turn lanes was discussed. The alders in attendance all made it seem like Ms. Jennings [Tori Jennings, chair of the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee] was running the project and that this project was already approved by the city. That’s certainly the impression I got quickly after this meeting started, and when one woman in the audience asked if this project was going to happen on Stanley Street, Cathy Dugan [8th District Alderwoman] said yes! Doesn’t the city have a procedure to follow when they do these new projects?
This may be a great way to improve safety on Stanley St., and maybe on Division Street too someday, but the council can’t just do what it wants! They have to represent the people!