Make life broke-r

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Needless to say, I'm disappointed with last night's results, but I'm going to save most of my commentary for my column, and I've got some family-related entries I want to post. I'm not so much disappointed in the vote to buy OTC as in the reasons the councilors gave for voting yes. In the end, costs only mattered to one councilor: John Eagleton. In this vote, and in previous votes on the budget, he seems to be the only one who thinks through the full financial implications of his decisions. Councilor Cason Carter's solution only protects the City on the income side, and that not completely, as a master leaseholder could very well go bankrupt, leaving the City holding the bag. Councilor Bill Martinson's worse-case (not worst-case) estimate still uses Staubach's S.W.A.G. for the cost of current operations, not the City's actual expenditures, which would be a findable number that would have given them a firm basis for knowing the bottom-line impact on the City's general fund. It is disturbing that they would go ahead without those numbers.

For more commentary and sound bites from the meeting, you can download the podcasts from this morning's KFAQ Mornings show. Gwen Freeman and Chris Medlock talked over the Council's decision during the pre-show and in hour 1. During hour 2, they spent a segment with the Thomas More Law Center discussing government accommodation of Muslim rituals, then spent the second segment talking with me and Aaron Griffith about the vote on purchasing One Technology Center. In hour 3, I had a few more things to say, and we took calls from listeners.

The City Council meeting will be on again on TGOV -- Cox Cable Tulsa channel 24 -- at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday.

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sbtulsa said:

I was struck more by the ease with which the counselors sold their yes votes. Who in their right mind would accept the role of savior, special master, or whatever the title is that guarantees the city will not be hurt by less than 100% occupancy.

this is a total smokescreen. there would be a negiotiation. the candidate would demand terms and conditions that would protect him or her. the city would never be 100% protected unless it paid a exhorbitant price.

personally I think the yes men and woman know this is a sham and made a deal for some other reason.

BobInTulsa said:

Michael, your cautions about the financials when you spoke before the council at Thursday's meeting could not have been more clear. Fortunately, the financials and their risks were foremost on the councilors' minds.
There were other issues including:
- The city becoming a lessor
- Participation of an unnamed third-party protector chosen by the mayor
- Parking: availability, convenience, and cost
There was some concern, but none worried a majority of the council members.
Yes, the financial risk had been the showstopper, but not with the introduction of the Master Lease provision. Everyone but John Eagleton seemed to agree that this was the key.
Then, the council realized that the Master Lease was not a certainty, that it was part of an "OR" clause. Oh, My!
And, suddenly, the Master Lease wasn't quite as important as it had been.
The councilors voted 8 to 1 against making it a requirement.
The councilors then voted 8 to 1 to go ahead and do the deal anyway.
Yes, I know. They have the mayor's assurance.
And, I had my head spinning.
To his credit, John Eagleton was definitive in his opposition.
Others had expressed similar concerns.
They just didn't back them up with their vote.

Brooksider said:

Thank you for your comments and perspective on the issue. I would have preferred the city pass on this deal, and dread the surprises in store as the administration tries to meet its goals. Since we are in this for better or worse, I hope it works.

The notion that a shiny new city hall will, by itself, will cast a new economic glow on downtown is pretty silly. The meat of the deal is redeveloping the vacated properties.

Many comments I have seen concern running the city like a business. I must say we have been electing politicians for all my adult life who have pledged this, and I don't see much improvement from it. Government is not a business. It is a democratic institution whose officers are, by definition, temporary. Is there any western institution less democratic than a business? I'm not knocking business, but insisting that government is fundamentally different, and should be run from a different perspective. Many of the same principles of efficiency, management, and operations apply, but the goals and stakeholders are not the same. Businesses have the right to serve whom they please, cater to high-rollers, and charge what the market will bear. A democratic government cannot. Business and government must coexist, feed each other, and often disagree. But in the end, businesses make poor governments, and governments poor businesses.

Jan Thomas said:

I don't know about anyone else, but my soul has not been transformed as Mayor Taylor has stated. As a matter of fact, I think that 8 of the councilors have sold their souls to the devil. Enough said.

sbtulsa said:

its becoming apparent that the real impact of the arena is all the spending required to support it. one wonders if it would have passed, had the backroom boys been honest about the hotel situation, the streets, etc.

add all the surprise costs up and that .4 we'll soon vote on might be needed for the extras.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 13, 2007 11:52 PM.

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