"Once more, dear friends ..."

Once more.


Once more, into the breach ...

Remember those surveys Urban Renewal put out regarding the Tabares Building? The one where they sought 'community input?'

It turns out they really didn't mean it. Take a look at the November Urban Renewal meeting, wherein that survey is pretty much discounted. It didn't tell them what they wanted to hear, so it got dumped.

Frank McKenzie: Are you going to discuss the survey and those results?

Edward Vela: 88 surveys said to demolish.

Frank McKenzie: Do you feel any responsibility to the people about that?

Jeffri Pryun: I didn’t fill out a survey. If the survey was going to be the deciding factor I would have filled one out. A dozen people have expressed their opinion and didn’t fill out a survey. 

So what was the point of the survey, if it didn't mean anything? Clearly at least one board member knew beforehand that the survey was nothing more than a sop to the unwashed masses ... otherwise, would she not have filled one out?

Rebecca Goodwin: What the majority said that was based upon Urban Renewal putting the
money in to button up the building or rehab or demolish. This is something nobody thought about before and might be another option. What I would say they have a concern with the Urban Renewal money and that there was no longer a DOLA grant. We were looking at all Urban Renewal money. That is a concern to me. We can get help from other people. I would also like to help Mike with an elevator.

MOTION: Rebecca Goodwin made a motion to table any decision on the Plaza Building until the December meeting to give Mike Vigil an opportunity to come back with a more detailed proposal giving him 30 days to come up with more details. Nancy Bennett seconded the motion.

Rick Klein: These are two independent projects – Plaza Building and elevator for the mall.
Rachel Wallace: Are you putting something in the paper about the survey results? If you don’t people will say you didn’t listen to them. You need to address that. This is something new in light of that survey.

Jenny Mathew: From the survey it seems lot of people were concerned because there was no parking and there is parking available. The 2.2 million dollars is very scary. People say you can leverage the money with grants. I think it could be rehabbed for less than demolition. 

$2.2 million for rehab ... and it would cost more than that to demolish it?

Chairperson Leonard: I have had four young people say you are never going to get their opinion if  you send out surveys in the paper or radio. They say you need to put it on facebook.

Facebook. Now there's a reliable means of gauging public opinion.

Rebecca Goodwin: That discussion did come up at our website committee meeting about a way  to get community input through the Urban Renewal website.

Randle Roberson: Voters have input in the survey. It was not an issue of parking. It was an issue of historic preservation. On one side you are trying to find reasons for not spending Urban Renewal money - not 2.2 million dollars on that building. I would be in favor of spending but not on that building.

Rebecca Goodwin: The ongoing discussion on the survey it is a mute point. The numbers that came from that whether people participated or not are part of the survey. This discussion needs to be done. The majority of people that did respond did say demolish. That is something different based on Urban Renewal putting money into rehab, button up or demolish. This is a new chapter with a new proposal that we haven’t had in the past. We need to move forward and see if this proposal is feasible and might work. That needs to be the discussion if we want to move forward.

So they changed the game plan - again - because the votes weren't what they wanted - again - and we hop on the merry go 'round - again.

Give Mike 30 days to come up with a proposal.

Chairperson Leonard: Rachel had a good point about letting the public know what the survey showed.

Mike Pruyn: That survey is not a vote. Would be a lot different if we took every response from our surveys. Surveys can be skewered.

Yes, surveys can be skewed whichever way ... especially when they are written by amateurs who know nothing about constructing survey questions, and especially when the results either never see the light of day, or are only partially revealed.

There's some pretty good tap-dancing and rationalization going on there, don't you think?

You can read the entire exchange here:

Minutes of the November 2014 Urban Renewal Meeting

which are in the archives section.

How many studies and surveys and motions and votes and re-votes and still more surveys have to be accomplished before we are rid of this albatross?

Last time I looked, we are allowed to ask such questions. Or should I have just filled out a survey form?


Literary and historical footnote: That's the first part of the opening line of "Henry V" - full title being "The Life of King Henry the Fifth," one of The Bard's epics. The full line is "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead." Henry utters this as he stands before Harfleur during the siege of that fair city in the late summer of 1415. You can watch the whole thing, including Sir Kenneth's famous rendition of Henry's 'Band of Brothers' speech:

in the 1989 flick. But we wander ...