Monday, December 12, 2016

Tonight at City Hall

The informal Common Council meeting was gaveled to order tonight by Council president Claudia DeStefano promptly at 7 p.m., and fifteen minutes later, with another rap of the gavel, it was adjourned. In that time, with three members of the Council missing--John Friedman (Third Ward), Alexis Keith (Fourth Ward), and Priscilla Moore (Fifth Ward)--no fewer than fourteen resolutions were presented. Only two of those resolutions provoked any discussion, and both of them had to do with additional funding for the universal access ramp at Promenade Hill.

The first of these resolutions authorized that $80,000 of the $100,000 set aside in the 2017 budget "for legal defense of an anticipated legal challenge to the City's weighted voting and ward system" be redirected toward "the construction of the Promenade Hill Park ramp." The second resolution authorized that the entire $100,000 be redirected to the ramp. 

In the discussion that ensued, it became clear that the $80,000 resolution was the initiative of Alderman Abdus Miah (Second Ward) and the $100,000 resolution was the initiative of Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward). Garriga called the ramp "an important project that needs to be completed" and explained that the point of the resolution was "to earmark the money to assure that the project will go forward." Garriga told her fellow aldermen that if the mayor's efforts to secure additional grant money for the ramp and to reduce the cost of its construction are successful, what was not needed of the $100,000 would go back into the general fund. 

Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) asked Garriga how much of the total cost of the ramp, which is estimated to be $155,000, had already been set aside. Garriga said it was $50,000; Gossips' information is that it is $60,000. 

When DeStefano asked for an introduction and a second for the $80,000 resolution, Miah introduced, but no one seconded. When an introduction and second were requested for the $100,000 resolution, Garriga introduced, and Alderman Robert "Doc" Donahue (Fifth Ward) seconded.


  1. Uh? Where were Friedman, Keith, and Moore? And what impact did their absence have on the outcome of the proposals on the table?

    1. It was the INFORMAL meeting, Peter. Resolutions are only introduced in preparation for the regular meeting a week and a day later. No action is taken on anything at the informal meeting.

    2. Yes, I know, Carole. But the fact that there was no second to the $80,000 resolution suggests that substantive stuff does happen even at informal meetings. Thanks for the report.