City Manager's complaining about my blog post

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The City Manager and Mayor made references to two of my earlier posts (Rose Music Center Financial Reports & Deceitful Spin - hiding a $5,000 fee increase) during the Feb 5th discussion on the Rose Music Center update.  You should watch that discussion not only because it will help you understand why I addressed council on Monday, but also because there are some other points made during that discussion that were misleading and there was a big reveal.  That reveal is a proposal to extend the management contract so that it ends in 2044 instead of 2039 with no opportunity to opt out until at least 2029.  In a few days I may write another post to address those issues.  Those posts will be more understandable if you watch the video of council's discussion first. 

Below you can find the speach I prepared for Monday's meeting. If you look at the discussion and read my previous article you will know why I spoke.  While I was there, I did not get to deliver the last paragraph.  It takes about 6 minutes to view my delivery.  Or you can read it below.   

Thank you council.  I've come here this evening to clear up some confusion viewers may have experienced while watching Tuesday's discussion on the Music Center financials.  I'll end advocating for getting the Lexington place Fishburg and Chambersburg road improvements on track.

Last week the mayor and city manager made inaccurate references to two of my blog posts.  These references did not even come close to reflecting the purpose or meaning of either.

As I have said, and proven dozens of times since council decided to build the music center, it is important for this community for this venue to be a success and my actions are designed to promote that success.  My post about the Music Center financials continued that goal.

The main theme council, the mayor and city manager should have taken from that article is that good financial reports lead to good financial decisions and outcomes.   Some people may be under the impression that the current success of the Music Center would have still occurred even if I would have accepted the initial verbal report Mr. Schommer gave of a $300,000 profit the first year when it turned out there was a $100,000 loss.  But the history of this city's large projects, before I came to office proves, that sloppy reports and planning leads to failed golf course projects and blockades on roads paid for by the city.

The comprehensive financial reports for the music center we have seen, since Mr. Campbell and I joined together to demand better than what was provided the first year, directly contributed to management upping their game and the Music Center’s subsequent superior performance these following years.

The concern about having only one verbal report to tell us how the music center did in 2018 was justified.  The relief of seeing the written report in last week's read ahead material was genuine because it shows promise for successful future years. 

Part of the relief was also from stress that came of my own making.  I know it is hard for some on council to understand, but believe it or not, after leaving office I frequently had people approach me and tell me they missed me as Mayor, and encouraged me to run again.  To that I would halfseriously and half jokenly reply, I would only run if the City went to a strong mayor form of government and choose me as the first strong mayor.  Now as often as I get people telling me they wish I were still mayor, I also get people suggesting I should do the work to convert the city to a strong mayor form of government.  This is not the political issue that drives me today.

Today my overwhelming political desire is to reform the Ohio Judicial system.  Those that are interested can go to the website and see my current efforts.   The short reason this drives me is because I lost a lawsuit because in Ohio, employees are not considered equal parties to a contract.   Then when I decided to support judicial candidates that believed companies should be required to honor the written agreements they signed, I discover I wouldn’t get the opportunity because lawyers have colluded together and will never challenge a sitting judge.

 You might imagine reforming the Ohio Judicial system is a complex and difficult project. Sometimes overwhelming.  There are times when being jarred by the bumps on Taylorsville road or knowing that the city has a $300,000 facility over on Powell road they’ve let sit idle for over a year, I think it would make more sense for me to try and improve the city, than it is for me to try to eliminate the lawyer logic that tells us either party in a contract has a right to change the terms of a contract, when they really mean only businesses have the right to ignore the agreements they signed.
So, I am truly happy when I hear Mr. Schommer tell us it is time to start planning for capital improvements on the music center.  I hope to hear he adopts the entire proposal from 4 years ago and includes funds for up keep of the Aquatic Center too.  When I heard Mr. Campbell mention the increase in water funds would mean that 30% more of our internal streets would be resurfaced, I was genuinely hoping for this to be appropriate use of our funds and this result.  That is because to me good local government is honest, transparent, takes care of our roads, emergency services, and has a sound a sound financial plan.  Every instance that shows commitment to these values lessens the call to convert to a strong mayor form of government. 

I end returning to road improvements and commitments to residents.  While listening to the Ward 1 citizen meeting the question came up about improvements to the west sides of Fishburg and Chambersburg roads. In that discussion Mr. Shaw brought up that he knew of the plan I proposed before leaving office to TIF the new developments and pay for the improvements that way.  The impression given was that this was a viable plan.  However, another impression given was that Mr. Shaw was unaware of any progress being made in that direction.  Two years ago, the way forward on these road improvements, was laid into the palm of your hand.  The Lexington Place addition is in full swing.  Without the creation of the TIF district, as each new house goes onto the tax rolls the funding available for these road improvement gets smaller and smaller.  The City is already two years behind starting the project to relieve traffic congestion for residents in Stoney Creek and Lexington Place.  Don’t let the rest of the funding for this project slip through your hands.

Finally, also during that Ward 1 meeting residents of Lexington Place talked about issues they were having with the construction.  I remember backing up staff when they assured residents issues like these would not occur.    As a normal citizen all I can do is ask staff to review the commit I made because of their assurances.  Trust is an important aspect of my commitments and I hope staff will see those commitments through. 

If this is a issue you think residents should discuss, please share on your favorite Social Media Platform or by email.