Tuesday, February 24, 2009

rated D for depressing

There's going to be a pretty dramatic, and surely depressing, city council meeting tonight.

Anyone else catch CH on the news last night, representing the firefighters?  I think the fire station brownouts will end as soon as someone dies unecessarily, so they may as well end them now.  I hope the city finds a better way to use the money of the Sheraton sale than to move the bus station.  


Anonymous said...

i seen him on the tv talkin all big
-Ed C.

wburg said...

The item has been moved from the consent calendar to an item for discussion...not sure yet if it will be discussed at the 2:00 nobody-can-make-it session or at the 6:00 session.

The meeting last night was interesting. My personal high point was when Bill Thomas explained that the previous change had resulted in Planning, Design and Preservation working like the three legs of a stool, and I got to ask him why he wanted to cut off his third leg.

Anonymous said...

Get back to work Burg-

volodish-a volo repository or hight tech communication equipment?

Liv Moe said...

what did he say to that bill?

wburg said...

Basically that cuts have to be made in times like these, even if they're painful.

Liv Moe said...

so there's not enough money for preservation? that's stupid

mines - damn! thwarted by a good captcha without a witty rejoinder to zing it with. i'm predicting an after the fact funny as g-balls would say.

wburg said...

liv: Preservation is staying, the Design Commission is the one that they want to axe.

It's also nonsense, because the proposal will actually end up costing the city more money. The Design Commission is basically a volunteer commission: they get paid like $60 a month for a meeting that can go 4-6 hours, plus maybe 10-20 hours a month reviewing projects. If there's no Design Commission, city staff has to do that work, at more like $25 an hour (and that's for junior staff.)

It has more to do with developers not wanting to have to deal with things like public scrutiny or having to fix details of a project that doesn't pass muster than any sort of cost savings.

Anyhow, Thomas considers that leg redundant, and thinks that paid staff would be an adequate substitute. Many disagree with that assessment.

Anyhow, it was pulled from the consent calendar and will be discussed at length at the March 17 city council meeting.

beckler said...

So I heard on NPR that the city council voted to use the money to use the bus station. That's so stupid! So we'll just replace that area with some building that's dark and closed at night so there will be even less people downtown at night.

Liv Moe said...

ug, sacramento. in the meantime i'm putting that meeting on my calendar.

Anonymous said...

The City Council and local media continue to paint the picture that there are only two choices: either public safety is willing to make some concessions or the City is going to have to start laying people off and closing more fire stations. But there is an obvious third choice: stop discretionary spending! It's absolutely ridiculous that no one is willing to call the Council out on their continued misuse of public monies. They can spend and spend and spend, lining the pockets of local developers, architects, and construction firms for projects of completely questionable value:

4.9 million-on a 1500 ft of riverfront sidewalk that goes nowhere for the time being - http://www.sacbee.com/ourregion/story/1597153.html - developer fees earmarked for parks

10 million-Railyards (owed back after 55 million dollar purchase) http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/story/1609332.html

5.4 million-Mermaid bar subsidy - http://www.sacbee.com/business/story/1636125.html and http://www.sacbee.com/business/story/1549913.html

4 million-K street improvements-http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/1491265.html

1.2 million-South Natomas Teen Center

300k-Pocket-Greenhaven library: (change order due to cost overruns) This on top of 14.7 million already spent for this project.

6 million-K Street Properties (1012 – 1020): + (Sheraton sale proceeds)

4 million-Greyhound Bus Terminal: + (Sheraton sale proceeds)

2.3 million-Hotel Berry purchase

800k-Oak Park remodel

18.6 million-Mohanna buyout

The fucking Mermaid bar and "edgy" nightclub plans for K street are especially galling. They are ugly, none of the existing downtown business wants them there, the city will have a financial stake in the businesses which makes them in direct competition with private business owners (always a no-no), and so-called "hospitality" spending downtown is already down by 20% to 40% by some accounts. Most nightclubs fail within 3 years, which will leave us taxpayers holding the bag on another empty k Street storefront.

Meanwhile fire companies close, firefighters are layed off, and public safety plummets. As described above, it will take the deaths of civilians or firefighters before the City Council will even consider the fact that this is all a very bad idea. It has happened in San Francisco, Philly, Houston and other cities in America, and it can and will happen here!


wburg said...

Most of the above are redevelopment projects, which are not part of discretionary spending. Redevelopment funds can only be spent on redevelopment projects, and money from things like the Sheraton sale has to go back into the redevelopment pool.

The plus side is that new revenues like developer fees and sales tax generated by projects that redevelopment funds stimulate *do* go back into the general fund, and can be used for discretionary projects.

Anonymous said...

Here's a direct quote from a letter from a former City Council member to our union president that we got last week.

"...The short of the long of it is that the City is putting at least $5.7M into a mermaid bar/nightclub/restaurant on K Street. The subsidy money, with just a little careful accounting, could be used to support general fund activities instead.

There are lots of issues here and at a different time this would be a project that most folks could rally around but today it comes down to this—this City shouldn’t lay people off, close down local businesses and hire mermaids."

Straight from the horses mouth.

wburg said...

Fair enough. Personally I'd rather see the city spend the $13 million needed to renovate and restore the Berry Hotel, and maintain it as an SRO. Instead they're spending $2.5 million just to close it and leave it a vacant shell.

beckler said...

Maybe after they do that they can turn that area of K and L street into a Falluja theme park? Like where you can get the experience of being a soldier in a bombed out city?