Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How Will Council Votes Pan Out on the ACS-City Parking Scam?

Attending City-County Council meetings can be a dull task. You sit there for hours for the one item on the agenda you're there for, and then you see a Power Point presentation you've seen already that takes five minutes to go through but somehow takes about an hour to do so.

But going to council meetings means you get to hear things that you wouldn't when watching it on Channel 16.

The committee, predictably, voted along party lines, 5-3, with a do-past recommendation. Joanne Sanders (D-At Large) wanted to propose a "Do Not Pass" recommendation but was shot down.

Jackie Nytes (D-9th district), who doesn't sit on the committee, was very vocal in her criticism and sounded much different than her political posturing during the Capital Improvement Board's budget vote, which she cast the deciding vote in favor of it.

Edward Coleman (LP-At Large), also not sitting on the committee, asked questions on behalf of his constituents. During the meeting, I thought he was offering timid support of the deal, and wanted to know why the city was rushing to get it through the council. But according to others at the meeting, he said that unless they delay the vote so he can sort through the issues, he'll be voting against it.

Several Democratic council members were present in the audience but chose not to sit in the seats for the committee's guest councillors. Some in the audience included my representative, Maggie Lewis (D-9th) and Dane Mahern (D-19th). Barbara Malone (R-At Large), a co-sponsor of the parking privatization ordinance, also sat in the audience.

After the meeting, there were two groups that left the City-County Building. Several members of the Democratic caucus were seen outside of the committee room. From what I hear, they're having dinner as a caucus to see where all the votes will fall. I hear Paul Bateman (D-11th) is considering voting for the proposal. Bateman, along with Nytes and Mary Moriarity-Adams (D-17th) crossed party lines to vote for the water utility sale. On the other side of the isle, Christine Scales (R-4th), who has bucked the party line several times, is considering voting against it. That makes Bateman's Coleman's votes very important to Mayor Greg Ballard and the GOP caucus.

The other group was almost everyone who was at the meeting besides the citizens and council members seemed to be people working on the deal in some form or another. I saw Michael Huber, Deputy Mayor of economic development, shaking hands with several people who weren't council members and didn't speak but attended the meeting anyway. But that doesn't surprise me. After you took the city insiders, the Democratic caucus, and the few citizens out of the room as soon as the parking deal discussion was over, the room was empty except for the actual committee.

I'll chime in more about the meeting itself in a later post.

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