The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Do Nothing Council of Bessemer

My prognosticating ability is lacking. First of all, the feds reduced the key interest rate by .5% rather than .25%, so I was wrong, and the markets soared.

Second, Elvira Kidd was allowed to speak in pre-council, when the mayor let her use some of his time. She got all the points of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association across, even going as far as letting Dorothy Davidson know that she lied to her on the phone when she told Elvira we did not have a water contract with Alabaster. Elvira has witnesses in her office.

So since I missed those two, does that mean Alan Keyes will be elected as well?

But here is the rest of the story of the city council meeting. Pre-pre-council there were protesters on the street in front of city hall, carrying signs about the water deal and about the obstructionist councilors. At 9:00 the protesters with their signs moved into the conference room where pre-council occurs.

In addition to Elvira speaking, the mayor had some words to say when the subject of the water bonds came up. Seems the obstuctionists had come up with a new resolution, which Ms. Davidson claimed had only a couple of changes from the mayor's proposal. When questioned by councilor Earl Cochran about who wrote the proposal, it turns out that Mr. Harris, the "council's attorney" wrote it. At whose instruction? Some councilors is what Mr. Harris said. He later said it was at Ms. Davidson's request when it was realized that a breach of ethics might be the case if it gets out that the councilors met without notifiying all the other council members and without the meeting being open to the public. Oops. Ms. Davidson denies there was any meeting..says she just did this on her own.

Shortly after this was when the mayor said he didn't think Dorothy Davidson had the ability to come up with a resolution, and this resulted in finger wagging by the Council President at the mayor, and he apologized (after getting his point across).

The mayor pointed out several major differences in the two competing bond resolutions, and things moved on and we went to council, awaiting the showdown.

Items 10, 11, 12 and 13 were ordinances that, in order to be acted on, the council had to "suspend the rules and leave the regular order of business to consider (four) ordinances. Council vote necessary." Included were the smoking ordinace, the noise ordinance and the two water bonds. (In pre-council they had already delayed the smoking ordinance till October 2, but it was still listed).

After the council addressed Item 9, (which is a "whole nother" story about how the council came this close to givng away $1 million...maybe tomorrow), someone needed to make the motion and second it to leave the regular order of business, but the motion was never made or seconded.

So the issues are dead until the next council meeting, or until the council calls a special meeting to address one or more of them. This council is sneaky, keep your ears open for a special meeting.

Neither water bond would have passed anyway. On first reading, the vote has to be unanimous, and the outcome would have been three for and three against on each. Albert Soles was absent.

The mayor mentioned the lawsuit, and a lot of people are asking me about it. It was explained in the Birmingham News this morning, in an article by Robert Gorden.

(I am at a computer at UAB that will not let me alter this good luck)
Basically the article says Gardnyr Michael Capital was the underwriter in a $13.4 million bond issue in 2003 that was used to develop Academy Drive.

They defrauded the city, the suit claims, by saying that insurance could not be obtained on the bonds, making them less valuable. Gardnyr Michael then obtained the bonds at a substantial discount, secured insurance and sold them at a much higher rate, thus guaranteeing themselves a much higher rate of return.

Gardnyr Michael capital says the suit is without merit, the mayor says his attorneys took the case on contingency, and they would not do that if they did not feel confident.

Another lawsuit may be in the works, as two men are considering the possible ethics violation referenced above. That could get interesting.


Drew said...

We need BIG turnouts at council meetings in the near future. Let's "flyer" the entire city before the next meeting!

Anonymous said...

"the mayor says his attorneys took the case on contingency, and they would not do that if they did not feel confident"

Makes sense to me. Waldrop's firm represents both the city and the mayor's chosen bond firm (Waldrop proudly boasts about having Bill Blount as a client on their website). They stand to make money from both ends if mayors plan passes successfully. Taking the case on contingeny is a crap shoot but if they are successful...hey, hey, hey.

I don't really give a crap who gets the work, it just needs to get done. The cronyism on both sides pisses me off though.