Saturday, November 22, 2008

Council’s penthouse performance still resonates in the community

Risking the wrath of now former Mayor Pond once again, the Daily News has kept alive the topic of the recent special council meeting which was held at the Coast Hotel’s penthouse.

It was a meeting which we provided some background on here on the Podunk site back on November 12 and November 18.

At the time the reasoning behind the change of venue was that the City Hall chambers were being used for advance polling purposes and the councilors simply couldn’t wait it seems for that event to conclude.

Instead they shelled out 125 of the taxpayers dollars for the room with a view to discuss that which we aren’t supposed to know about.

In his regular Daily News column, George T. Baker addresses the room change and the events that surrounded the unnecessary drama, and correctly points out that it was a blunder by the council, made as they were literally heading out the door of the last council session.

Considering the fact that City Hall is no longer Herb Pond’s domain, we suspect that he won’t be providing his own review or correspondence on the issue and will now leave the chastisements of the Daily News over negative reporting to his successor.

George T. Baker
Tsunami Hazard column
The Daily News
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Page four

Negotiating my way through the negative

I don’t know when the city hall council chamber moved to the penthouse of the Coast Hotel, but the next time they do that it would be great if they informed us about the cost before they went ahead and spent that money.

Outgoing Mayor Herb Pond has recently criticized our newspaper as being ‘negative’. Surely he understands then that wasting money when there is no good reason to do so is equally negative.

Pond was right when he said it was not a secretive meeting. That’s true. A press release and public notice was put out by city hall days before the meeting took place.

What took place was of personnel and litigation matters, which are important and this current council may have been the best ones to deal with it.

But that isn’t the sole point.

I have it on good authority city hall has more than one room. After some quick investigative journalism, I discovered that city hall has multiple rooms inside that wonderful building on Third Avenue West and that, more than likely council might have been able to squeeze inside one of them.

What was wrong with the Special Events office, or the community policing office on the other side? It sounds like to me that it was planned to be convenient for council to meet where and when it wanted to, rather than do the optics-appropriate move, which would be the city dealing with its in-house business, in-house.

So, why on God’s green earth they decided to do their business there is anyone’s guess.

The Coast Hotel penthouse?

Did a council member need access to a bed after long and arduous day debating behind closed doors? Is the city so paranoid that – gasp! – locals might have discovered what they were discussing that they had to change the location of council’s meeting?

Seems to me, it hasn’t been difficult for this current council to keep its camera business quiet over the last three years. That wouldn’t have changed now.

This might come off as another petty Daily News negative bias, but the troubling reality is that the penthouse gathering was a blunder, it wasn’t a gigantic blunder, but it was a blunder nonetheless.

There has been no good justification for the meeting to take place at that location. The city threw $125 at the hotel when it could have just as easily saved its money and either waited for the election volunteers to clean up, or met somewhere within the city’s own building.

That isn’t negative. That’s just a fact.

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