|~: City Hall Gulch :~|
Until recently there appeared to be strong establishment opposition to either of the moratoriums. It took nearly two months for Denise Delmar's requests on these emergency measures to get safely past the Mayor's resistance and before the public. Yet at last Tuesday's City Council meeting support for both fell easily into place, and they passed unanimously. It appears to have been quite a change.
So what was the reason for this? It isn't often in this City that you witness so radical a mood swing, especially when it could have a serious financial impact on the ability of our local government agency to fund platinum retirement and benefits packages for itself. The most sacred of all the cows now housed in the City Hall barn.
While there were a few persons who did show up at last week's meeting to voice opposition, I'm guessing as a last gasp attempt by the now sadly diminished Buchanan/Doyle crowd to somehow stop the two moratorium bids, they had no effect whatsoever on the final outcome.
As a matter of fact, the response of the attending public appeared to be one of either astonishment or just plain anger at what these far too professional and chatty gentlemen had to say. An indication of just how out of touch and marginalized this once influential group has become. Even at City Hall, which apparently didn't even bother to let them know that the fix was already in.
It was not just surprising at how easily the old regime was pushed in front of the bus, it is almost as if this was done for our benefit.
The Mountain Views News, our city's adjudicated newspaper, which is almost entirely dependent upon taxpayer funded legal advertising for its meagre survival, presents pretty much a mirror image of the thinking at City Hall. A Pravda-like press obedience to government diktat that never strays far from officially approved versions of current events.
There is little that gets published in the Mountain Views News that doesn't kowtow to the wishes of either the City Manager or the previous four Mayors. Many of these articles sounding like they were dictated by our city government itself, rather than anything an independent and skeptical press would provide. And as such the MVN has unintentionally become one of the best indications we have for what is going on internally at City Hall.
I thought I would cite three recent Mountain Views News articles showing the speedy, and radical, evolution of this city's thinking on the building and water moratorium fronts. A rapid change that, in a few short weeks, went from complete support for McMansionizing places like Mater Dolorosa, to bringing the entire process to a screeching halt.
Without once even acknowledging the change, by the way.
The first cite comes from a May 31st Mountain Views News piece called, "The Talk of the Town: Mater Dolorosa Development Board Issues Statement To Clear Air."
Events, of course, were to prove this MVN version wrong.
Things changed. From a complete and utter certainty about development impact fee enriching projects such as the Mater Dolorosa debacle happening, doubt began to creep into the official message just a few short weeks later. This from the June 28 version in the Mountain Views News:
The bit about the City Council not dictating land use policy becomes a absolute hoot in light of the next MVN article cite. The following unmedicated hysteria is taken from this weekend's edition:
From declaring that housing at Mater Dolorosa was going to be built no matter what, to this over the top celebration of everything that we here at The Tattler had been advocating like … forever? All in just six weeks? Talk about having an Attention Deficit Disorder. This is a mood swing so rapid that the author of those three little numbers really ought to get herself to a doctor and checked out for whiplash. And soon. Her head just might fall off.
Of course, I don't have much of a problem with any of this. My hope was always that the two moratoriums would succeed. Along with zero penalties for not knuckling under to that absurdly large 30% water use cutback demand. Something that almost everybody in town would have trouble meeting, thereby making any new water use penalties a de facto third city water rate increase.
We won. We beat them. So what do I have to complain about?
Nothing. At least for the moment. But I still want to know why Harabedian, Goss and Capoccia, along with the City Manager and City Attorney, capitulated so completely. To me this is the other big event, and nearly as important as the two moratoriums themselves. The Tattler being so very political and all.
I have two theories. Here they are:
Theory #1: We won. City Hall finally figured out that there was a full-scale uprising in town, and they would soon to find themselves in an extremely untenable political position. One where extremely irate residents could start organizing a Councilmember recall or two, plus other possibly inconvenient unpleasantries. The matter had to be defused.
City Hall, along with its two union enabling shills on the City Council, also feared that this sudden burst of purposeful energy amongst the townies could soon extend to such issues as those obscene 30% (plus) health care plans they've been giving themselves. Plus with the remaining 6% of the UUT going on the ballot in November? Better to just kick the developers to the curb and let the lawyers sort it out.
Theory #2: They didn't really mean it. And at the next City Council meeting, when all the details on these moratoriums are going to be worked out, most everything will be parsed, processed and finagled away.
In other words, last Tuesday was for show, and with Council Chambers back to being nearly empty, they'll do what they always do. Make a pig's ear out of a silk purse.
Personally, I fear that in the end we will not have won that much. And if we don't show up at the next City Council meeting, with the exact same energy and resolve, we will lose everything we thought we'd achieved. You know, all of the stuff that Susan Henderson talks about in this weekend's version of the Mountain Views News.
Which changes its opinions with the wind. Just like our City Council does. And could once again if we are not there in sufficient numbers to stare them down.