Got meetings this week – three in two days, two mornings and an afternoon. Finance Committee, Internal Affairs at 8am, and Economic Development at 4 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday. What a shit storm.
I try to keep an eye on these meetings – you can’t really tell from the agenda what will come up in the discussion – bureaucrats say the darnedest, most incriminating things at these little, intimate committee meetings.
The Internal Affairs committee is of most interest to me right now – they are discussing ways to shove an alcohol tax on us without allowing us to vote on it. Kirk Trostle is pushing the Alcohol Compliance and Education program – ACE for short – which would put a fee on any business that has anything to do with alcohol, including grocery stores. So far as I’ve heard, this fee would be based on square footage of the establishment, which is why I figure Trostle practically walked BevMO! through the process while asking the city to deny permits for dinky businesses like whatever they’re calling Bustolini’s these days (It’s a dumb name, I won’t repeat it, but I think they’re getting screwed).
When I first read about this ordinance, they were trying to get it on a ballot for the rest of us to decide, but Scott Gruendl motioned for staff to make it an administrative change, meaning the public gets no say in this decision? Well, we do get a say in November 2014, we can say, “Scott, get out, and don’t let the screen door hit you on the ass.” But if we don’t want this ordinance, which will be spread across the cost of everything at grocery stores and restaurants, we better say something now. I’ll try to keep you posted. It’s all about the wording – they can’t legally tax alcohol, so sneaky Gruendl instructed $taff to come up with some other way to get into our purses without getting caught. What a creep that guy is.
The Economic Development Committee will be discussing itself. Brian Nakamura has moved to reduce these meetings to a couple a year. I’m of two minds on this – on the one hand, I’ve been attending these meetings for years, and so far, I’ve seen nothing positive come out of them. We’re just paying $taffer Shawn Tillman to shadow the activities of the Chamber and DCBA and give little high school reports. We could invite the directors of these organizations to give those reports, and I”m pretty sure they’d be glad to do so, they both get a substantial portion of their salaries from city handouts. On the other hand, if this committee is going to exist at all and direct Staff, we need these meetings to be regular so that the public can keep an eye on what’s going on. I’ll have to attend this meeting to see where the discussion goes. Tillman announced at the last meeting that these meetings aren’t recorded.
The Finance Committee will be discussing the budget, but an interesting part of the agenda is the diversion of parking meter fees to, essentially, whatever they feel like using them for. Right now they’re supposed to be dedicated to improving parking, but that fund has been pilfered half to death for years. I don’t know if I’ll make this discussion, three meetings in one week is about enough to gag a maggot. We’ll see what happens.