Wow, we just saw a window into council priorities. Since January and the new council began meeting, their meetings are conducted with lightning speed, usually lasting half an hour and on rare occasion because of the sheer number of items on their agenda it may go as long as an hour. Today, June 18, 2013 there were only 6 items on their workshop agenda and it took them over an hour to deliberate. Why? Because these were all items that have a direct impact on them and their business.
Here’s the lineup:
- Council has changed the voting meeting time from 7 PM to 6PM.
- The Vice Mayor’s position will follow a calendar year (Jan. to Jan.) rather than the fiscal year (July to June).
- Council subcommittees will remain annual appointments with a 2 year consecutive term limit. After serving 2 consecutive terms a councilmember must move to the other subcommittee (there are only two). After being off for 2 years councilmember may again sit on committee vacated.
- Response time for Council Items of Special Interest remains 30 days for staff response.
- Council has traded Moment of Silence for Prayer after they have opportunity to review suggested guidelines for conducting a Prayer.
- Workshop meeting location has moved from Council Chambers back to its old haunt, Room B-3, or the “basement” as Mayor Weiers likes to call it.
Interim City Manager Bowers announced that at the June 25, 2013 meeting the Internal Audit will come forward. After the open meeting, Council went into Esession and it was an unusually long one for them, starting at 2:45 PM and ending at about 6:30 PM. The issues were substantive. From various statements made to the media by the City Attorney and some councilmembers there will be no vote on the Coyotes deal on June 25th. So look for June 28th or July 9th. However, Council has a vacation break in July so it makes more sense for it to become an agenda item at the specially called meeting for June 28th.
We know council was briefed on the PAD and SMG bids and council probably learned their asking price to manage the arena. It probably made Councilmember Alvarez’ heart beat faster and I imagine she offered an impassioned but hardly eloquent plea for acceptance of one of them. We know another topic of discussion was the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) bid. Councilmember Sherwood publicly admitted that there were deal points that caused council difficulty. I would think the city’s guarantee of $15M (or X number—you fill in the blank) a year without any guarantee that there would really be the elusive $8M-$11M in enhanced revenue going to the city could have been a stumbling block. Whatever the issues were, council would have given direction to staff to go back to RSE and renegotiate those deal points. The ball in now in RSE’s court. If RSE is serious, it will have to make further concessions that demonstrate their skin in the game. Councilmember Sherwood also publicly acknowledged that the deal points need to be publicized one week before the vote. I applaud council for their stance on the side of reasonable and prudent public disclosure.
Councilmember Alvarez walked out of Esession in disgust, complaining that council was making “too many concessions” to RSE. The mere idea of entertaining the RSE bid is a “concession” in Alvarez’ mind. One other Alvarezism from the open meeting springs to mind. While discussing putting public comments at the beginning of the meeting she virtually accused her fellow councilmembers of not championing Democracy and the American Way by accusatorily saying, “We’re not dictators.”