I was allowed 3 Minutes to speak yesterday, and ask directly of the Mayor and City Council for some information concerning the talks with the developer. What I got was a 'No, we can't disclose that', but there will be other times ... which frankly speaking lends an even more back-alley feel to this entire thing.
The Mayor was quoted here:
"We have a standard policy to which any developer can apply and we cannot treat them differently simply because we don't happen to like who they sell or lease their property to."
"So far, they nave not asked for anything thats not in our standard book of "you pay for something and we'll reimburse you' list."
When I asked again for clarification on the details of such discussions, the answer was:
"Its not something we concede to the public, but the public has a right to know what we're doing."
If we have the right, why would we not be allowed to know?
There is a system of checks and balances in place for a reason. If the public does not support the decisions of its government, then the government needs to change them. If that is in offense to any private business (that stands to gain from utilizing public monies here), then that business can legally do what they want on their own, including go to court (See Ashby HighRise). But thats a roll of the dice that I'd bet a jury of my peers would have a hard time finding for a developer who's trying to make a few extra million dollars.
Lets not foget here, that Ainbinder had a tennant already, and gave them up to go to Walmart.
Click Here to go to the HTV Page
Under 27 July 2010, Click on Video. At the popup, click on 'Public Speakers (Part 2 of 4) to see the conversation once my speech concluded. The Mayor's comments begin at the 21:10 timeline of the video.