Today the local politicians demonstrated yet again that they could not envision any waterfront development without their wise, guiding hand. They voted to approve the $50 million Lens project which actually will cost $150 million and not satisfy many of the needs for the local citizens. In addition they told the citizens this: you want a vote – go do that yourselves…more on that below.
They continued to demonstrate they are more interested in a government monopoly on ideas and waterfront projects. This is the same Council that has lost money on other waterfront white elephants like the port, the Mahaffey in the past, the old Bayfront Center and in other places like the dome. They are looking forward to a larger white elephant herd with a transit hub and local rapid bus transit.
Voting yes for this White elephant of the pier: All but Wengay “Newt” Newton who knows a waste of taxpayer money when he sees it. If you want a vote on the Pier, the Council told the citizens to raise funds themselves for the signatures, rather than using their power to put a referendum on the ballot we can vote on.
More importantly, they want the taxpayers to fund their albino pachyderms. They think the taxpayers should be on the hook to borrow from a private lender and pay the private lender millions in interest payment over decades. They can never envision the concept that a private lenders should lend to a private interest. They never can think out of their central economic planning box where only they and their political process can produce a good project.
They act as if any opposition is ill-informed, naïve, politically motivated or simply dumb. They point to their “professional process” and their committees and their good intentions. They claim they will finally produce the economic stimulus that will revitalize the pier area. Already they speak of raising the property tax rate for the coffers as they get drained. They talk about other funding for “phase II” and “phase III” (in other words more borrowing, more taxes and less success).
There is one good way to proceed. That would be to lease the entire pier to a private entity. Let them take the risk. Let them borrow the money and pay the interest. Let them make a profit so that we all may enjoy the profit. Let them pay taxes rather than receive a subsidy. Let the taxpayers off the hook for once.
Well, there is a reason that the city keeps having one economic failure after another. It is the lack of vision, narrow thinking and political self-interest of the city council. One day, that will change, but only with new leaders on the Council.
The Council challenges us to “get the signatures” on petitions (4000) and then you can have the vote. Well, they FORGET that THEY CAN PUT THE REFERENDUMS ON THE BALLOT FOR THE CITIZENS and let them decide. Don’t hold your breath.
For now, the citizens are going to have to sit back and take it or find a way to stop this through a petition process to get a referendum on the ballot.