Friday, August 10, 2007

Why Not Buy Southard Street?

Commissioner Jose Menendez, in a flight of fancy, has suggested that Wisteria Island be turned into a gaming mecca. Mayor McPherson wants the City voters to consider buying Wisteria Island, saying the issue is preservation and never has been annexation. Preservation? Really? Preservation from what? The island is already preserved if not pickled. Until some good citizens came along and organized a cleanup the island was a twenty-one-acre dump that neither the owners, the county or the city seemed to care about.

The City doesn't need to buy Wisteria Island to turn it into a park. The would be developers could do that and charge money to go there. It seems that the City Commission has linked annexation with development. Indeed, they are separate issues. The City could annex Wisteria Island any time its wants. The problem is the messed up laws the City has on development. If the City annexes the island, under the existing laws, the developers could build homes on the island. That's not an annexation problem. That's a development problem. That's what the City needs to work on, but, of course, it won't because the City is controlled by developers.

The Mayor is a realtor, after all, which is why one ought to be suspicious of any proposal that the City buy Wisteria Island. One has to ask, "Why?" The Mayor doesn't really want the voters' nod to buy the island; otherwise the proposed referendum would be given a green light and made a binding referendum. So what's behind all this wrangling over Wisteria Island? We're all ears, Mr. Mayor!

Meanwhile, we have a suggestion. If the City thinks it can buy Wisteria Island, why doesn't it buy Southard Street? It would likely cost a lot less and solve a whole bunch of issues for the City, not to mention that it would put an end to what may ultimately be a costly lawsuit for the City.

The reality is that the City does not have the money to buy (or even pursue eminent domain over) Southard Street. And the City doesn't have the money to buy Wisteria Island either. If the Mayor is proposing to ask the voters something, he 'd probably get a more positive response if he asked the voters whether they'd finance an eminent domain suit to take over Southard Street.

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Anonymous mark finkel said...

In an eminent domain suit one of the aspects is need, and with the waterfront land bordering Fort St. as well as access through Petronia, Angella, Geraldine, Olivia, and Truman Sts. there appears to be easy access to this property and little need to take Southard St. Also there is the little matter of bad faith evidence by the 2000 agreement which the courts will need to evaluate. Even if the city decides to fund an eminent domain suit, it remains very unlikely to win it. The issue then is (as you have pointed out) the wasting of city money. Unfortunately wasting money appears to be a chronic disease in this region with almost too many examples to list (ie. USS Vandenberg, Hickory House[county], multiple suits against the city for illegal firings, countless hiring of consultants whose advise is ignored when it conflicts with the city commissions preconceived views etc.

8/11/2007 08:18:00 AM  

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