Under Mayor Mallory there were 5 committees that met regularly. Under Mayor Cranley there are 8. While the mayor appoints the chairs, council members are free to join whatever committees they want to.
The reason there are so few people on Economic Development is because nobody wants to join a committee where the Chair is difficult and hostile. Mr. Smitherman is the chair. It was also pointed out that Amy Murray’s Transportation committee is very popular because she is polite and respectful.
It is up to the Mayor’s discretion which legislation goes through which Committee and it can change. Usually abatement issues come through Budget & Finance where all members of council serve.
Here’s what’s got me so frustrated that I am now having these little outbursts to get attention: For 6 months I have been telling everybody that will listen that I want a lot more public discussion on the government hand-outs for real estate developers. I don’t mean I want to hear soundbites from politicians or a one-sided report delivered by people who earn their living from putting up big buildings who skim over risks. I mean I want a real public debate about how and when it is appropriate to use public dollars to over-ride free markets by the people of this community. But after all my study, all my investigation I still can’t figure out when that would happen, when citizens can influence the outcome of these issues and am scared to death that big corporate developers that understand this system better than I ever will, will sneak this stuff through and the vote will be finished before anybody knows it’s coming.
All this fuss and bother on my part – and nobody in local government has been able to assure me otherwise.