Monday, November 06, 2006

Citizen Driven -- my *ss!

Last week I got tossed out of a Grant Street meeting, of sorts. I'm still pissed.

Just don't tell me that a project is going to be "citizen driven" when it has taken five years, and the next stages in the process include work with the legal department, operations from the Planning Department, a RFP, then a community engagement meeting at the tail end of the efforts.

That's not something I'm going to buy into, in the slightest.

If something is 'citizen driven' -- then the citizen meetings happen at the outset.

Furthermore, don't expect me to think for a moment that the South Side Local Development Committee, (SSLDC), speaks for us -- the citizens.

I don't speak for citizens. But I do know what citizen driven looks and feels like. And, that those on Grant Street can't hoodwink me without an objection.

We have a dark spot in our South Side Community -- behind the South Side Hospital. Another year comes and kids throughout the city are getting into vans on school nights to play hockey at a facility near the airport. We only have one indoor ice rink in the city -- and it is the Civic Arena. It is a little hard to get ice time there. And, they want to tear it down too.

This year I talked about the closed indoor ice rink about 30 times at community meetings as I campaigned. Dozens of ideas have been floated. But, the city has been putting everything on ice -- go figure.

I get calls every other month from developers of sports facilities that would like to use the area for coaching, for kids, for community, for everyone's benefit. But nothing happens.

The former operator of that facility failed. But the biggest failure then was the lack of oversight. That is how leases are to work. When the lease holder fails to hold up his end of the deal -- you come in and change the locks.

This isn't a mayor's issue yet. But it will be in 2007. It was in 2006. And I'm still frustrated by those on Grant Street.

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