I'm gonna make this quick because the downtown arena is obviously the thing every one is talking about lately.
We have known there was going to be an arena downtown for years, since we first approved it.
So issue number 1 to clear up is that council didn't just suddenly come up with this, we as voters approved this several years ago with the QOL bond.
Issue number 2 to clear up is that it has to be downtown. It is part of the ordinance language.
Its NOT part of the ballot language as a friend of mine points out.
Some will argue that ballot language is general because there simply isn't the space to put the entire ordinance language on a ballot so they just include the big stuff like amounts and what the projects are - you'll notice the Westside pools aren't mentioned by site in the ballot language either.
So whether it indeed needs to be downtown is now in question. However I don't think that is the real issue at this point.
Here is where the city gets itself in trouble with the people - they didn't disclose to the public the exact location of the arena until Thursday and then voted for it on Tuesday.
The real issue for me is that the city apparently has learned nothing from past controversies and in their haste to get things done that they almost always screw up.
Its that rushed stuff that gives the appears to the people that this was a done deal, they have no say, now swallow it and like it.
Whether the ballot language does or does not say it needs to be downtown doesn't matter as much as the fact that it doesn't say the community gets to decide exactly where to put it.
Just because that isn't in the ballot language doesn't mean that the community can't have some say it where it goes. Good government would dictate that you give the community ample time to weigh-in on the location of the site and two business days just isn't sufficient by any measure.
This is a self-inflicted wound on the part of the city that was completely avoidable. Unless someone can explain why it was necessary to reveal the location on a Thursday and vote on a Tuesday, it just seems like the city unnecessarily rushed the vote on this one.
That is what gets on people's nerves. That is the kind of thing that makes them not trust their local government.
I want a new arena. I knew what I was voting for and knew it was going to be somewhere downtown. Since downtown is only so big, I'm wasn't ignorant to the fact that something was going to have to be moved, bull dozed, or eminent domained for it.
This kind of move, especially one that could potentially displace the people that it is easiest to victimize (poor brown people who can't afford a lawyer), is what undermines the faith of even people like me who support a strong and vibrant downtown.
Frankly the timing of this issue couldn't be worse for EPISD because it wouldn't surprise me one bit if people took their distrust out on the bond because they will be leery about another high dollar public investment that always seems to be problematic.
The reality is we voted for it and it needs to be downtown somewhere. The longer we wait on this project, the more it is going to cost us.
So we need to pick our poison at this point.