Archive for November 15th, 2007

by jhwygirl

Calling back my hero worship, sadly.

Seems Jaffe is waffling on what seemed to be his lack of support for extending the hold on the city-owned riverfront triangle property for the proposed $60,000,000 performing arts center.

The one that wants to ask the citizens for a $20,000,000 bond and donation of the land itself – worth in the several million dollar price range if not more? Anyone, please, kick in there with a value on that prime piece of real estate….

He’s now saying “If the PAC committee can find a $20,000,000 donor, and if they can raise an additional $20,000,000, and if the voters approve a $20,000,000 bond, they will be good to go.”

That’s a whole lot of ifs there Bob. And last I looked, there really isn’t any pie in the sky. In fact, there’s just a whole bunch of storm clouds lately.

We have an very worthy organization, Missoula Community Radio, that is seeking to obtain an FCC license for the last FM radio signal here in Missoula – a radio station that would be an “unfiltered media source” – which I think most of us all would agree is very worthy. It would provide an venue for local musicians and the local community organizations and promote communication. All in a non-profit setting.

They aren’t asking for free land – and hell, they haven’t even gone to the city and ask them to donate the $8,000 that they need to pay the attorney they had to hire to help them through the complicated FCC license application process.

You can donate to this worthy cause – I know they’d appreciate it. Even if everyone that reads this blog today donates just 5 bucks, that would be a hell of a nice chunk off of that $8,000 bill.

Instead, we have a Public Arts Committee (PAC) that seems to think it is entitled to a piece of city-owned prime real estate, entitled to a $20,000,000 taxpayer bond, and entitled to a $20,000,000 jump-start donor – – all because they are a “worthy cause”.

Well – Missoula Community Radio is a worthy community cause. HomeWORD is a worthy community cause, United Way Missoula is a worthy community cause – the list goes on and on.

We have more important things to do than to deal with this – and if the extension passes, we will continue to have to deal with this time-sucking cash-sucking venture.

Ward 3’s Stacy Rye kicked in with some common sense after Jaffe’s waffling began last night:

On one hand the Council is told we’re not doing anything but supporting a reservation of land. On the other hand, we’re told that if we don’t support it, we’re doing away with the project because they can’t find a major donor without public (City of Missoula) buy-in. I do not like being put in that kind of position, and yes, it’s fairly clear to me that if we do support this, we are giving a stamp of approval, not simply an extension of a land reservation.

Amen Stacy.

So I may not have a hero on City Council – but it does look like I have a shero.

City Council has no business, whatsoever, giving away a piece of prime real estate to anyone. Lease it, yes. Sell it, yes. But giving it away is wrong.

City Council has no business reserving a piece of property for an entity that is asking for it to be given to them. Again – lease it to them or make ’em pay for a reservation – it’s done all the time in real estate…called a “right of first refusal”…but they’ve had quite a bit of time already with absolutely no takers on their offer to have someone give them a $20,000,000 check.

Does anyone think that, if sent to the voters, a referendum to give the multi-million dollar property away would pass muster? Doesn’t council have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers to act more prudently with city-owned property? Hell – maybe I should check the law on that one.

And having already had that prime piece of riverfront property in their hands, reserved, fee-free, for two years now is telling. They say they need the reservation to get a donor, and yet it hasn’t happened.

It ain’t gonna happen – and the City needs to move on.

There’s more important things at task.

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