Today there was a fire drill at City Hall, right in the middle of ye olde Knights of Malta conversation. The Comet got to talking to some folks standing around outside of the building:
BRUCE KRAUS: Very relaxed, except that he's wondering if he's ever going to get approached for questioning.
BILL PEDUTO: Thinks that the Continental Real Estate issue at the Stadium Authority could be bigger, badder, and deeper than the Lamar/Liberty/Wylie/HACP issues.
The Authority has not met since March 13, when he was still on that board, and the administration proposed a sweetheart deal on the land that violated the terms of a court settlement reached only in November. The Stadium Authority acted to block that move, and Peduto was promptly removed from the board. The transaction lies in limbo.
DARLENE HARRIS: Is as concerned as can be that laws are either being ignored, or not being followed. She wonders if Council is going to have to do something not simply in terms of oversight, but in terms of enforcement.
TONYA PAYNE and ourselves continued to challenge one another regarding the "minutia" of Hill District politics, following up on a conversation we had months ago.
We asked Payne today whether there was a chance that any individuals from the "other faction" -- the Hill Faith & Justice Alliance, the Milliones or the Udin camp or whatever one calls it -- might be able to secure just one of the four committee seats reserved "for the community" on the nine-member panel outlined in the "Community Benefits Agreement" enjoined by One Hill and the URA.
She said it's up to a majority vote -- it would be inappropriate for her to overrule or unduly influence the community process. Carl Redwood and Evan Frazier would be in a better position to discuss such things.
We then appealed to the Councilwoman that One Hill, in her own words from last time, was started by Carl Redwood and herself with the intention of supplanting the leadership of that other group. We again mentioned our concern that so many One Hill members who sympathize with that rival group have had their voting privileges revoked, making it difficult for them to be heard through this new representational planning and development process.
Payne responded by protesting that the previous leadership was plenty high-handed and not sufficiently representational itself, and there were good reasons for establishing what she defined as a more "democratic process." As to why voting rights were suspended, she again appealed to a requirement that all members were to sign an agreement pledging not to negotiate outside of One Hill's process, and they broke that pledge.
That put us right back on the core of so many of these frustrating issues. In the Comet's opinion, nobody needs to agree to or sign any pledge in order to be counted as a voice in their community, and nobody should be prevented from speaking out on behalf of their community in whatever way they see fit.
We can only wonder how this One Hill qualifications rule came about?
Was it voted upon by the membership?
Did it arise before or after the leadership was elected?
If it was in place before any leadership was elected, what sort of "ad hoc" procedure brought about that requirement and by whom?
Should it be seen to have any democratic or moral legitimacy, moving forward?
The way we see it -- we utilize boards to transact business because boards allow for a variety of points of view around the table. The ability to include one or even two voices from the faction of concerned dissenters to sit among the four available board spots would go a long way toward making the Community Benefits Agreement pretty darn exciting, and a cause for celebration.