Monday, June 30, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Free Photo Booth

This is funny. It's similar to Candid Camera.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Disorderly Premise Ordinance Amendments


At tonight's Neighborhood Council 4 meeting, amendments to the Disorderly Premise Ordinance, which were proposed at yesterday's City Commission agenda meeting, will be discussed. It is expected these amendments will be voted on before the public hearing at Tuesday night's City Commission meeting. Commissioners Bronson and Jolley are expected to attend tonight's meeting.

Zero Tolerance

According to an article in today's Trib., law enforcement will have ZERO tolerance for firework ordinance violators.

This is good news. I don't mind folks shooting off fireworks within reason, but for those who abuse the privilege, which it is, they deserve the fine.

Unfortunately though, the article didn't do a thorough job of listing all of the rules that are to be followed to avoid a fine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saturday Bus Service

The Great Falls Transit District will hold a public hearing tonight to address plans to eliminate Saturday service.

When: Wednesday, June 25 at 6:00pm
Where: Transit District headquarters at 3905 North Star Blvd. (North Park Industrial Complex)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Bookstore In A Manure Tank

It's a good thing this "store" isn't around here. I would never get anything done!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good News!

Through the efforts of Neighborhood Council #7 and many others, downtown will once again have a grocery.

I wanted to end your Monday with a bit of good news.

It is now official, the former owner of the Cut Bank IGA has purchased the downtown Grocery Store.

The new downtown IGA should be open by August 20.

Don't be shy; it is because of YOUR effort that this entrepreneur saw a market here. This new investment in our community proves the economic viability of our community.

Aaron Weissman

Learn About The New Ordinance

If you're still wondering about the city's proposed ordinance to curtail problems involving people doing things they shouldn't be, Thursday night's Neighborhood Council #4 meeting will be of interest to you.

Officer Noah Scott will speak in behalf of the ordinance and Ronda Wiggers will offer a differing point of view. The public will have an opportunity to comment and ask questions of both parties.

A public hearing for this ordinance is scheduled for the next City Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 1.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, but have an opinion or question, you may e-mail the chair of NC#4, Sandra Guynn, at

Neighborhood Councils - Week of June 23, 2008

Two meetings are scheduled this week:

When: Tuesday, 6/24 at 7:00pm
Where: Bethel Lutheran Church at 1009 18th Ave. S.W.

Special meeting to discuss support for extending the River's Edge Trail from Warden Bridge on 10th Avenue South to the 6th Street Southwest bridge.
When: Thursday, 6/26 at 6:30pm
Where: Heritage Baptist Church at 900 52nd Street North

* Committee reports
* Problem properties
* 10th Avenue North annexation
* Disorderly Premise Ordinance - speakers, Officer Noah Scott and Ronda Wiggers
* Property near 900 52nd Street South
* Neighborhood concerns

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Water Rights Working Group Meeting

In today's business section of the Tribune is an announcement that the Water Rights Working Group will meet on Wednesday, June 25 from 8:00am to 9:30am at the Holiday Inn.

According to the announcement, The Water Rights Working Group is part of the Great Falls Development Authority. I googled the group and found nothing. I visited GFDA's website, and guess what, it STILL isn't updated. (When they can't get a website online, especially after they were offered help, it really makes one wonder about their competency level to accomplish anything else).

Dave Schmidt of Water Rights Solutions will give a presentation on a report he recently prepared for the city of Great Falls titled, "A Water Strategy for the Future".

This is the same business that has been working with the city for about six years and also has a conflict of interest, which wasn't a problem for John Lawton.

This sounds no different than the ECP board and the City Commission only receiving information (other than from public comment) about the coal plant from the guy who wants to build it.

GeeGuy's Guest Opinion

If you don't get the print version of the Tribune, you missed GeeGuy's guest opinion in today's paper. It's not online, so here goes:

Questions before city goes on with electric utility plan

Guest Opinion

The following is an open letter to our City Commis­sion. Nearly the exact same letter was sent in electronic mail format to one of the commissioners on Jan. 10. In the more than 150 days that have passed, and despite sev­eral follow-up contacts, I have not received a substan­tive response to my inquiry.

Therefore, I have modified it to address all of our com­missioners and hope that one of them will offer a response:

Honorable Commissioners — I have a difference of opinion with the majority of the City Commission on the advisability of the city’s foray into the electric utility busi­ness. My concerns are not primarily environmental in nature, but instead stem from what I believe to be a string of poor management decisions made after it became apparent that the city would not be allowed to provide electricity to its resi­dents (other than the select few who found their way into the “pilot program”).

I am hopeful that, as city commissioners, you might have an easier time than I have had obtaining answers to a few simple questions, questions that I think should be fairly obvious from a busi­ness standpoint.

One of the goals of the city’s entry into the utility business is the provision of “economical” power. We have spent significant sums of money to get to the point where we are right now. We have spent more than $1.5 million so far in start-up expenses for the coal plant.

The electrical utility has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars each year since it started. We owe at least hun­dreds of thousands of dollars to SME for the credit they have been giving us against power costs, i.e., the “water credit.”

We have $1.4 million of city money tied up as a secu­rity deposit. One local blog­ger suggests we have spent more than $400,000 on the utility in the last year alone. We don’t even know what the taxpayers are paying each year in wages to city employees who are working on utility business.

Based on the foregoing, then, it certainly seems a fair question to ask just what can we expect from all of this money? In other words, how much are we going to need to save every year in order to justify the present outlay? Exactly how much, on an annual basis, has the city paid for electrical power since 2000?

Exactly how much, on an annual basis, does the city expect to pay going forward? These numbers need to be strictly generation costs, not transmission costs, internal costs, and related fees and expenses.

Here’s an example of what I am talking about.

Let’s assume that the city pays $750,000 per year for electric power at present (I am excluding transmission because the city will have to pay for transmission whether or not it builds a coal plant, because the city doesn’t own poles and wires.). If the city figures to save 10 percent per year, or $75,000, on its annual electric bill for the next 40 years, at 7 percent interest, that would justify a present expenditure of $999,878.16. We’ve already spent/lost more than twice that.

If the city figures to save 25 percent per year, or $187,500, on its electricity for the next 40 years, that would justify a present expenditure of just under $2.5 million. If we have not already exceed­ed that sum, we are certainly approaching it. (By the way, those rates of return exclude ongoing operating expenses, an unlikely scenario.)

You can see where I am going with this. I am simply struggling with the econom­ics of the city’s proposed investment. I can only assume you have or will carefully examine the pro­posed financial arrange­ments.

I am asking that you obtain this sort of informa­tion from the city’s account­ants. I assume different sce­narios like the foregoing have been analyzed in detail given numerous differing assumptions about the future costs and expenses. I con­tend that it would be irre­sponsible to press on with a project of this size without such a detailed analysis.

If these scenarios have been considered, I have not been able to obtain them. Just how much do we presently spend for electrici­ty? How much do we think we will save the taxpayers?

What is the best-case sce­nario? What is the worst­case scenario?

I want to know, and I think you probably do too.

Thank you, honorable commissioners, for your service to our community.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Randy Gray Stepping Down

In response to a couple of comments made at last night's City Commission meeting, Commissioner Bronson indicated that Randy Gray is stepping down from the board of ECP. He also confirmed the attendance history of Gray and Dawn Willey. Evidently, some of Willey's absences have been due to medical reasons.

In 2007, Dawn Willey missed four meetings and has already missed two meetings in 2008. Were these absences "excused", because she gave advance notice, or did she just not show up? It makes a difference. The City Commission should be verifying with the board as to whether she gave notice or was simply AWOL (to quote Richard Liebert) and act accordingly.

Disorderly Premise Ordinance

I think an ordinance of this type is appropriate, but I do believe there needs to be some revision, which is a post for another day.

As I mentioned on Monday, here is another point of view regarding this ordinance from Ronda Wiggers:
I am serving as the Government Affairs Director for the Great Falls Association of Realtors. As many property management offices are often integrated into real estate offices, they also monitor property management issues.

We recognize the problems facing the lower north and southside neighborhoods in Great Falls. However, we do not feel that this ordinance is necessarily the answer.

It would be a great service to landlords and property managers if they were contacted EVERY time the police went to their property. In the past, we have been told that the police cannot do this. Obviously, the time required in verifying ownership of every house involved in a police call would be astronomical. Secondly, I believe that when I was teaching landlord/tenant law we were told that there were due process issues involved that did not allow us to take action for criminal activity until AFTER they were proven guilty in court. I think the two of these issues have combined to keep the police from notifying property managers when they visit their property.

I don't really think the problems facing the northside residents will be addressed if the police wait until after the 3rd visit to notify the property manager. By this time it is really too late for the property manager to deal with the issue in a timely fashion. If you are to adopt an ordinance of some type, it would seem best if the property manager were notified every time the police visited their property. It is in the best interest of the property owner to protect their asset from damage. In most instances, the earlier that they are aware of the problem, the earlier the problem will be dealt with.

I also have some concerns about the time lines and notification involved. It appears that the city will have 3 options in how they notify the property owner. One of those options is to simply "post" the property. There is no way to keep the tenant from removing this notice or to insure that the property owner is actually notified. We would ask that you strike that option as a form of notice. Second, the proposal requires that the meeting be held within 5 days of mailing the notice rather than within 5 days of receipt of that notice. It would seem that there may be instances where the property owner is not even aware that there is an issue prior to the meeting time expiring. This should be changed to 5 days after "receipt" of notice to allow for mail time and people to be away from their mailboxes.

Third, the MCA very clearly details the relationship between a landlord and/or property manager and a tenant. The ordinance requirement that the property manager bring copies of their lease/rental agreement with the presumption that the city will then negotiate is simply unacceptable. There is a business relationship between the property owner and the property manager and the tenant. This relationship is governed by MCA, the Montana Board of Realty Regulation and, in many cases, by both state and federal Fair Housing Law. There is no logical reason to allow the city of Great Falls to enter into these contract negotiations. The city has a number of noise and public disturbance laws that can be applied without the need to use the lease agreement.

Further, the MCA clearly delineates the time line for evictions. These vary depending on the rental agreement. A simple month-to-month rental agreement can simply be terminated with a 30 day notice. (this would still take longer than the ordinance proposes for settlement) A long term lease requires that the tenant be allowed to correct the violation of the rental agreement on notification of the first offense (time varies depending on the offense) and then can be evicted with a 5 day notice if the same violation occurs within 6 months. There is an exception for intentional destruction of property that allows for a 3 day non-rectifiable notice to evict. A month-to-month rental agreement can also use these same options but it is usually easier to just give a 30 day notice. Now the bad news. That is the easy part. If they choose not to move then you must go to Justice Court and file for an eviction. They must be served papers. They then have 20 days to answer. After that 20 days has passed then you are scheduled for a court date. (I have found this is usually within 2 weeks in Cascade County) If the court finds in favor of the landlord then they usually give the tenant another 3 or 4 days to move. If they again do not move, you must go back and get a writ and have the sheriff move them (this takes a very long time as the sheriff does not like to do it). None of this fits into the time lines outlined in the proposed ordinance and all of it would happen faster if the police were to notify the property owner after the first visit rather than the third. And, during this entire time, the property manager has absolutely no control over the actions of the tenant. There is no reasonable way to hold the property manager legally and financially responsible for the tenant's actions.

Upon visiting with those that have proposed this ordinance, they indicated that the "solution" could be to evict the tenant and that they were aware that this would take time. I still believe that we need clear language that the landlord would not be liable if the police are called to the property while the eviction is in process.

Finally, if this would really clean up the neighborhood and stop all of the crime problems, we would be very willing to see what we could do to assist the city in getting around the state and federal laws that apply. But we don't believe this is going to solve the problem. It would be interesting to know how many locations have the police visit them 3 times in one month. I know that I owned over 30 units of rental property and I don't think the police visited them a total of 3 times per year! (and, most of those came because of 2 abusive couples) I also know that they do not visit the problem house next door to me on a monthly basis. Do they actually write tickets and make arrests? It would seem that this would be more of a deterrent than "you are probably going to get you and your landlord into trouble some time in the future".

Although I hate how long "the process" takes when someone else's actions are irritating my life, we all need to remember that due process is written into our laws for a reason. We are all innocent until a court finds us guilty and then the government can take action. This ordinance appears to allow the city government to order us into negotiations that change our business contracts and probably cause someone to lose their home without any court ever finding anyone guilty of breaking any law.

One last thought (you knew that was coming) Have you given any thought to the unintended consequences of this? If there is an abuse situation and the police are called on 3 occasions, then the tenant and the landlord enter into an agreement with the city that the police will not be there for 6 months and that they will get counseling or whatever (who is going to monitor this anyway?) the abused now knows that if she calls the police again, she will be homeless, and, maybe in jail for violating the city ordinance. Pretty scary. And, as I look over this, it would not have made it any easier for me to get rid of the "drug store" next door to my house.


Ronda Wiggers


I attended the City Commission work session last night and was disappointed. I thought, perhaps erroneously on my part, that the SME portion of the meeting was going to be more about the city's continued involvement in this fiasco.

Mr. Gregori did an excellent job of making sure the "discussion" didn't stray into that territory. Commissioner Beecher helped by asking questions I didn't think were all that relevant. Gregori's explanations were long and tedious, which he apologized for, and as GeeGuy indicated, he strayed into pricing issues, which I can't begin to explain to you.

Mr. Doyon wanted to get some information from Gregori so the City Commissioners could have something to think about and "mull over". With only about 30 minutes left before the City Commission meeting began, he asked Gregori what would be the benefit to the city and the cost. According to my notes, Gregori indicated that if the city wants to maintain its equity in the plant, it will have to continue to invest, but the cost is not known.

Will the majority of commissioners look at this ambiguous statement as a concern? On their own, probably not. Hopefully, Mr. Doyon will keep the pressure on them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Concert

When: Wednesday, 6/18 at 5:00pm
Where: YWCA at 220 2nd Street North

ECP Board More Involved?

City Manager Doyon suggested that the ECP board and the City Commissioners become more intimately involved in the dealings with SME.

I don't see how the ECP board getting more involved can be a positive thing.

The ECP board is supposed to be an advisory board to the City Commission. To date, they have been pretty much a board in name only. In fairness though, it's hard to advise if folks are not getting information because of supposed proprietary and confidential reasons. Be that as it may, there are other problems:

1. Conflict of interest of the board itself - Even if by a minor miracle the City bails out of HGS, ECP will still exist. ECP is the electrical arm of the city. Various businesses, pilot program participants and the city get their power through SME. The Electric Fund pays SME for this power.

2. The following board members have conflicts of interest and other problems:

A. George Golie, Chair, - Is a member of the pilot program and the union, which is supposed to be getting most of the jobs constructing HGS.

B. Dawn Willey, Vice-chair - It is my understanding she works for Benefis. Benefis receives their power from ECP, which receives it from SME. She also has missed more than three meetings.

C. Randy Gray - Former mayor of Great Falls and member of the pilot program. He also has missed more than three meetings.

D. William Ryan - Member of the pilot program

E. Robert Pancich, former chair - A few years ago admitted he didn't know anything about electrical markets.

Tim Gregori has been in this business for several years. From what I've heard, there's currently nobody on this board anywhere close to his level of knowledge to be able to intelligently challenge his statements.

So, as it currently stands, how in the world can this group even come close to being unbiased in their assessments of SME and give appropriate advise to the commissioners?

I don't see it happening.

Marathon Oil Lawsuit

A couple of weeks ago, I asked about the Marathon Oil lawsuit against the city.

To date, the City has paid $42,677, which includes the latest payment of $10,477, to the law firm of Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry and Hoven to defend the City against a lawsuit filed by Marathon Oil. According to City Attorney, Dave Gliko, the City was found not to be at fault in any way. Both parties agreed to dismiss the City from the lawsuit without any damages to be paid.

Why would the City agree not to be reimbursed for its legal fees?

City Commission Meeting This Week

Tomorrow night's (Tuesday, 6/17) City Commission meeting has a few items of "increased" interest on its agenda:

1. For the third time, Resolution 9749, which would create an Animal Ordinance/Shelter Operations/Enforcement Advisory Committee, is on the agenda. Commissioner Bronson did rework this resolution.

2. Fire Protection and Emergency Services Agreement between SME and the City of Great Falls Fire Rescue.

3. Accept Ordinance 3009, Disorderly Premises, on first reading and set a public hearing. Not surprising, this ordinance has generated controversy. Within the next few days, I am expecting to post another point of view.

Neighborhood Councils - Week of June 16, 2008

Only one council is meeting this week.

Where: Great Falls Prerelease Center's Women's Annex
When: 6:30pm, Thursday, 6/19

* Resident's desire to rezone
* Planning for neighborhood council community project
* Committee reports
* Neighborhood concerns

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

In 1924, President Coolidge recommended that Father's Day become a national holiday. President Johnson designated the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day in 1966. It was not until 1972 that President Nixon instituted Father's Day as a national observance.

Learn how a Civil War veteran inspired this special day.

Today Is Flag Day

Flag Day was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Time To Get To Work

I think it safe to say that the days of the City Commission sitting back and letting the city manager run the show with abandon, are over.

Thank you Mr. Doyon. It's about time.

Mr. Doyon finally received a response from SME with regard to his concerns about confidential and proprietary information. I like the way he presented this concern to the commissioners:

1. He stated the problem
2. He stated what the problem means for him in his capacity as city manager
3. He gave recommendations
4. He is awaiting further Commission discussion and guidance (emphasis added)

Visit GeeGuy for a legal interpretation of SME's letter.

My initial concern is whether the Commission as a whole is up to the challenge.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lighting At Gibson Park

If you support NC 7's efforts to light Gibson Park, I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you called the Park and Rec. Department and offered your support as well.


Last night, Neighborhood Council 7 signed a letter in support of the Park and Rec. Department's efforts to light Gibson Park.

Thank you,


Good job Council 7 (-:

Same Old BS

I didn't attend last night's ECP board meeting, and if the reporting is accurate in today's Tribune, I didn't miss much.

Now Tim Gregori claims it isn't such a bad idea after all that:

* RUS denied funding; "Now only one financing source will be needed".

* Yellowstone Valley CO-OP pulled out; "SME is talking to two entities that would take all or more of Yellowstone's share of power".

Maybe I'm missing a couple of things.

How can looking for private investors (more than one) reduce his financing source to only one?

How are two entities necessarily better than one? I understand their individual financial commitments would be less, but there would also be one more company he would have to appease.

He also claims the city could possibly remain a member at 8 or 9% ownership without spending anymore money, although he did say the "city's total additional costs might only amount to $600,000 in all".

Let's see. We originally paid for 25% ownership, which was then reduced to 17% and is now sitting at 8 or 9%. We wouldn't have to pay anymore money to retain that 8 or 9%, but might have to pay $600,000.

He'd make one helluva politician.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Start In The Right Direction

Thank you Mr. Doyon for summarizing and coming up with suggestions concerning the city's involvement in SME/HGS.

I appreciate his acknowledging that resolution #9537 gave the city manager way too much authority and essentially gave away valuable city time and energy to a project that not only the citizens were not given the right to approve, but a project in which the citizens cannot participate.

With regard to his suggestion that responsibility should shift from the city manager's office to ECP, I have a concern.

It has been mentioned several times that there currently is no ECP board member familiar enough with this industry. If this is an option to be considered, the City Commission better reorganize this board and get members appointed who have a clue. Otherwise, it will be real easy, as it already has been proven, for SME to continue to hoodwink the city. Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss.

And if this board were to gain more responsibility, the City Commission better start to uphold Title 2 of the city charter that states if members of city boards/councils miss more than three meetings, they can be replaced.

Neighborhood Councils - Week of June 9, 2008

Three council meetings are scheduled this week. All meetings are open to the public and you do not have to be a member of the neighborhood to attend that council's meeting.
Where: Community Rec. Center
When: Monday (tonight) at 7:00pm

Where: Westgate Mall conference room
When: Wednesday at 7:00pm

* Committee Reports
* Neighborhood Concerns
Where: Camp Fire Office at 1925 2nd Avenue South
When: Thursday at 7:00pm

* Committee Reports
* Neighborhood Concerns

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Did The Mayor Visit Cataract City?

I put up a post the other day that rankled an anonymous commenter. Another commenter, Dera Fine, thought this party sounded like the mayor. Well, anonymous didn't deny it.

I can't say for sure this person is the mayor, but I can't imagine another person, anonymous or not, wanting to be mistaken for somebody characterized as "surly, vicious and snotty".

Anonymous, if you are the mayor, it is most hypocritical of you to post as anonymous when you stated, only a month ago, that "If people don’t have the courage to stand behind their words, that simply makes them cowards, and who has time for people like that"?

Add'l Info. About Neighborhood Council #7

Because there has been a lot of confusion lately, I wanted to send a brief note to confirm NC7's upcoming meeting schedule.

We alternate our meetings between the Rec Center and Longfellow during the school year. However, we meet at the Rec Center during the summer as Longfellow is closed.

Anyway, all meetings are at 7 p.m. Here is our tentative long term schedule:

June 9, 2008: Great Falls Rec Center
July 14, 2008: Great Falls Rec Center
August 11, 2008: Great Falls Rec Center
September 8, 2008: Longfellow
October 13, 2008: Great Falls Rec Center
November 10, 2008: Longfellow
December 8, 2008: Great Falls Rec Center
January 12, 2009: Longfellow
February 9, 2009: Great Falls Rec Center
March 9, 2009: Longfellow
April 13, 2009: Great Falls Rec Center
May 11, 2009: Longfellow
June 8, 2009: Great Falls Rec Center

Please call me if you have any questions.


Friday, June 6, 2008

40 Years Ago Today

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Neighborhood Council 7 June Meeting Agenda


Attached please find the agenda for our next scheduled Neighborhood Council 7 meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 9 at the Community Rec Center.


Aaron Weissman, Chairman
Neighborhood Council 7
Representing the Lower North and South Sides of Historic Great Falls
Live. Right. Here.
Work. Right. Here.
Play. Right. Here.

Monday, June 9, 2008, Community Rec Center,
801 2nd Ave. North
7:00 p.m.

Please note: This agenda format allows citizens to speak on each issue prior to Council discussion. We encourage your participation. In the interest that all parties can be heard, please limit your comments.



Approval of May minutes
Status of Gibson Park lighting project
Status of Left Turn Lane at 6th Avenue South and 9th Street
Discussion of Problem Properties
City Planning Department One-Way conversion recommendation
Weed and Seed project/Prerelease Gift
Downtown Grocery Store
Other Old Business

Disorderly Premises Draft Ordinance
Presentation on remodel of Maryland Apartments - Kyle Haynie
Painting Project at Gibson Park Tunnel
Status update of the premature deterioration of the Natatorium pool liner
Neighborhood Concerns

Weed and Seed
Downtown Task Force
Police Advisory Board
Other Reports


Next meeting July 14, 2008—Community Rec Center, 801 2nd Avenue North

Disorderly Premises

At Tuesday night's work session meeting, City Manager Greg Doyon unveiled an ordinance to help control problem properties, or more to the point, problem people living at these premises.

This ordinance as currently written is not yet a done deal. GeeGuy brought up some concerns and I'm sure there are more to come.

This is a good chance as a citizen to voice your opinion or ask questions of the City Manager or Commissioners. It hasn't happened often in the past that citizens have had an opportunity to see an ordinance or resolution more than a day or two before the vote.

Take advantage of it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Freudian Slip?

In my nearly 30 years of voting, I never thought of going to the polls as the "full dog and pony show", but that is what Rina Fontana-Moore, Cascade County Clerk and Recorder, called it. This interview also aired on the 5:30pm and 10:00pm newscasts on Wednesday.

I hope this isn't how she really feels about voting.

Postponed Again

As was indicated in today's Tribune, the City Commission last night voted to amend the wording regarding the formation of an Animal Shelter/Enforcement Advisory Committee. A couple of commissioners weren't in favor of the ordinance as previously written.

Commissioner Bronson is going to rework it and see if he can make all parties happy.

It's a good thing that time is being taken to seriously work on this. For those of us who follow City Commission meetings, we know they have been notoriously quick in the past to "hurry up and take a vote" regardless of public comment or questions.

I commend Commissioner Bronson for taking on this challenge. Good luck!

No More Sponsorships

Commissioner Jolley supported the up to $500.00 donation toward the Harvard Glee Club ONLY if the commissioner "slush fund" would NOT be part of the current budget.

It seems the commissioners were given $2,000 for FY 2007-2008 to spend on whatever they wanted. When Commissioner Jolley asked about this practice at a budget hearing a few weeks ago, the answer was something like, "well, this is what we've always done".

It would be interesting to know just how many pet projects of the City Commission were given a handout over the years from the city. Whatever the number, I think it is safe to assume that several thousand dollars of taxpayer's money has been used in this manner.

Thanks Commissioner Jolley for shining the light on a very inappropriate city practice.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Another Good Voting Experience

Today was another good voting experience at Expo Park. As I walked in, someone asked if I knew where I was going, which I did. Like last year, it was very easy to find one's precinct as they are set up in numerical order.

The only thing I think could be improved would be to mark the ballot drop tables with a balloon or something. It was hard to find those tables and I noticed that some folks were bringing their ballots back to the sign in judges.

Oh well. If that's all that goes wrong, they'll be lucky.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Another City Donation

At Tuesday night's (6/03) City Commission meeting, the Commissioners will decide if the city should sponsor the Harvard Glee Club concert on June 15, 2008 by contributing up to $500.00 for the use of the Mansfield Center.

This 60 voice men's choir will work with the local music departments and visit as many homes of local glee club members as possible to talk about the new scholarship opportunities at Harvard. I guess Harvard is now making attendance by low to average income students more possible. I have thoughts about this, but this post is about the city "donating" money to a non-profit, public service organization.

Mr. Doyon now requires that staff reports give the fiscal impact of whatever it is the city is touting. In this case, it will affect the 2007/2008 City Commission's budget by up to $500.00.

It's not the amount of money I have an issue with, but the principle of it. I can understand the city wanting to help out and sponsor a group. It's great PR. But, by the same token, it's taxpayer's money being donated. When we pay our taxes, we're assuming, or at least I am, that the funds are going toward city services, not to be used to help out organizations, no matter how great they are or think they are.

At the end of the day, I want to decide to whom or to what organization I will contribute to.

Neighborhood Councils, Week of June 2, 2008

Only one Neighborhood Council meets this week:


Where: Sunnyside School music room at 1800 19th Avenue South
When: Wednesday, 6/04, at 7:00pm

Committee reports
Neighborhood concerns