Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letter: Re-thinking the McNeilly property

The following is a letter to the editors of Blog-Lebo. It comes from Richard Gideon. —Tom

Gentlemen:

Over the past several days I have had a spirited exchange of E-mail messages with four of the five members of the Mt. Lebanon Commission concerning the municipality's role in providing entertainment to its residents in general, and McNeilly Park in particular. The majority of these conversations have been with Mr. Miller, who has provided me with some interesting background on the McNeilly property. While I don't agree with Mr. Miller on all subjects, he has been a real gentleman and I am happy to say so publicly.

I would like to address two points that keep coming up from various members of the Commission: 1)parks (and other “facilities”) attract new, younger residents into Mt. Lebanon, and 2)parks increase property values.

As to the first point Commissioner VanKirk writes, “In order to stay a viable community, we have to have the facilities that attract young families. These families, who buy homes, pay taxes, and use local businesses are the future of Mt. Lebanon.” There is certainly some truth to this, but why is it necessary for the municipality to own “the facilities that attract young families?” I adduce the town of Sandy Springs, Georgia, which since 2005 has managed to outsource and privatize almost everything except police and fire service. (Believe it or not, Chicago has privatized some of its ROADS.) In this current economic climate how many young families are flocking to Mt. Lebanon because of our parks and recreation facilities? Is there a study available to prove this? Of course, McNeilly Park is a strange situation, given that it cannot be sold and was acquired without an access road. Which leads me to discuss the more interesting second point.

“McNeilly Park...will increase property values.”

Who benefits from increased property values? This is not as strange a question as it might seem. The first and most immediate beneficiaries are Mt. Lebanon and the Mt. Lebanon School District. It is in the special interest of those who derive income from local taxes to keep property values as high as possible – higher property values mean higher taxes; higher taxes translate into more money for teachers and municipal employees at contract renewal time. It also means more money for infrastructure repairs and upgrades. The second beneficiaries are property owners – with some very strict qualifications. It needs to be pointed out that an increase in property value is not immediately accessible to the property owner! You only access the “equity” in a home if you a)take a loan out for it (go into debt), or b)sell it. But does the McNeilly property necessarily mean increased property values? The answer is alluded to, ironically enough, in a National Parks Service white paper entitled “Economic Impacts of Protecting Rivers, Trails, and Greenway Corridors.” On page 15 NPS states the following (I retained government spelling): “The effect on property values of a location near a park or open space has been the subject of several studies. Statistical analyses have been a common method of attempting to measure this effect. These analyses attempt to isolate the effect of open space from other variables which can affect property values, such as age, square footage, and condition of homes. Isolating the effect of open space can be difficult and results have been varied. Nevertheless, many studies have revealed increases in property values in instances where the property is located near or adjacent to open spaces. Most studies have addressed traditional parks or greenbelts (large open space areas), though a few studies are available for greenways.” Then on page 4 we have the following: “The effects of proximity to open space may not be as simply quantified as in the above studies. Many studies (Brown and Connelly; Colwell, 1986) have found the potential for an increase in property value depends upon the characteristics of the open space and the orientation of surrounding properties. Property value increases are likely to be highest near those greenways which: 1) highlight open space rather than highly developed facilities; 2) have limited vehicular access, but some recreational access; 3) have effective maintenance and security.”

The bottom line, according to the National Parks Service, is that homeowners living withing 3200 feet of a park with quiet, open spaces, walking trails, benches, and maybe a bike path are more likely to experience increase property values. Conversely, property owners living within 3200 feet of a “nuisance” park – described as a highly developed property – could expect a decrease in the value of their properties, with the amount of decrease assuaged by distance from the park.

As one might expect, the National Parks Service is a huge supporter of parks and is a cheerleader for parks as a means of increasing property values. But, to their credit, they do note that not all parks are good things; and they say so.

Baseball fields and concession stands aside, perhaps Mt. Lebanon should re-think how best to use the McNeilly property.

Richard Gideon

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26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great to see that those who showed up last night in support of the proposal It is also clear from my discussions with Commissioners that they are receiving consistently more emails and phone calls in support of the plan, which is also good news.

Mr. Gideon, what, in your opinion, is entertainment and what is not? Our tax dollars go along way in funding the Library, but that is hardly infrastructure. Our tax dollars also fund maintenance of our 15 parks. Should we stop those expenditures or sell those parcels? This same question was asked of someone last night at the Commission meeting . . . what role should the municipality have in funding anything but streets, sewers and public safety? If the answer is "none" why aren't more people advocating for the library, the parades, the farmer's market, the tennis courts, the golf course, the swimming pool, leaf collection, recycling, etc. to be cut from the budget?

It's easy to say that we should not do something specific, but the logical follow up question then becomes why do we do anything extra? I'm curious as to where the the objectors draw the line.

Dave Franklin

August 23, 2011 4:45 PM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

It was great to see those who showed up last night questioning the proposal. I think the answer to your question, Dave, was answered last night. It comes down to wants and needs. The needs are maintaining what we have such as the library, the pool, leaf collection, recycling, etc. I want a skate park for my son. We have no place for the kids to skate legally. But that is kind of selfish of me to ask.
I am not so sure that the emails and phone calls are mostly in support of the plan.
I have uploaded the podcasts of last night's meetings on lebocitizens.
Elaine Gillen

August 23, 2011 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is also clear from my discussions with Commissioners that they are receiving consistently more emails and phone calls in support of the plan,".
David, this is hardly surprising considering the organized efforts by the various sports groups, who I am sure comprise the majority of the supportive emails and phone calls. If there was a way to see results of a valid poll of all residents I think that the results might be different.
Joe Wertheim

August 23, 2011 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three Commissioners have told me that the emails they have received are mostly in support of the proposal. I'll take them at their word.

As for maintaining what we have, would you then support a similar investment for our existing fields in much the same manner as the repairs to the pool?

Dave Franklin

August 23, 2011 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard,

The Commission is actually seeking suggestions for additional uses of McNeilly beyond those of just athletic fields alone to supposedly benefit a greater percentage of the population than field sports enthusiasts alone...and engender more lobbying support (e-mails, phone calls, clones of Franklin, etc.).

Adoption of a number of additional uses (eg. walking & bike trails, dog park area, model airplane area, equestrian facility, etc., etc., etc.) would likely backfire according to the NPS study in that McNeilly would seemingly become a "nuisance park" and actually result in a reduction in property values within 3,200 feet.

Which brings up another point....based on the location of McNeilly and the apparent 3,200 foot influence distance according to the NPR, it appears that over 80% of Lebo property values would be unaffected by McNeilly development regardless of it having either limited or "nuisance" features. The proposed design is tight & congested as is.

As to whether young families are or are not flocking to Lebo because of athletic field availability, show us the independently documented facts...not just anecdotal references to an example or two, which has been the long standing practice.

Besides fancy, color schematics, high development costs, the well known and often used extreme lobbying by athletic supporters for more, more, more, there are several conspicuously absent in publicd terms...I'll mention only 2 here due to blog keystroke limits :

1) there is no actual commitment for funding support from the athletic groups..other than a definite maybe..for either development cost or user fees; and,

2) how & at what cost will necessary security be provided & how will trespassing and unauthorized use be controlled, at what cost ?

Bill Lewis

August 23, 2011 7:55 PM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

I am confused. I thought the reason why our school taxes are going through the roof was to attract families. We NEED a new sports facility at the high school. You mean they aren't moving here for the high school renovation? Well then. Forget the renovation and start building more sports fields. I am all for that!

Just a heads up, Bill. After McNeilly Park, their next target will be Robb Hollow Park. It is never enough.

Joe W., how about a referendum?
Elaine Gillen

August 23, 2011 8:27 PM  
Blogger Bill Matthews said...

Mr. Franklin has an idea worthy of serious consideration.

If after the bond issue, the Commission will have $3,000,000 burning a hole in the Manager's pocket -- with a stated goal to improve the overall field situation in the Community -- why not first ask the question:

How is $3,000,000 best invested on behalf of the Community?

Should we:

1) Turf/Light Mellon, Jefferson or Wildcat?
2) Finally fix Bird Park?
3) Other fields?
4) Other ideas?

It seems to me that $3,000,000 at McNeilly is mostly invested in clear cutting trees, digging huge amounts of dirt, filling in holes and performing other assorted earth flattening activities.

And after all that, few kids will be able to walk to/from this Community park. It is literally on the edge of town.

Who knows - we might even get by with only spending $2,000,000 elsewhere and enjoy a greater return to the Community.

For once, let's go BOLD and think before we spend.

August 23, 2011 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,
The WE in spend does not include the deadbeat athletic supporters. They are great at email campaigns and worthless promises but I would not give them a credit card. If they really want the field let them show the community the money instead of LONG WINDED speeches and emails. Apparently the Comission has not learned from the HS process. Too bad for the rest of us.

John Ewing

August 23, 2011 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Ewing, I love it when you post. It makes it that much easier to convince people to move forward.

Dave Franklin

August 23, 2011 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Franklin, this may come as a surprise to you, but most people would love a Taj Mahal school, dome stadium at McNeilly park, and dow jones above 20,000 next week.
When I woke up this morning reality of getting ready for work settled in pretty fast.
Where we differ is, my family and I live within our means, and I expect my government to do the same. If your idea of moving forward means municipal spending out of control for those who choose to stay here, I'm against it.
David Huston

August 24, 2011 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, where we differ is that you believe that money spent improving our community is out control spendng. The proposal for McNeilly couldn't be further from comparison to the high school project. It is not a lavish plan by any stretch. To the extent any comparison can be made, I might offer that in 10 years when the price to develop McNeilly doubles, we'll all look back and ask why we didn't do something sooner.

Dave Franklin

August 24, 2011 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Franklin asks for my opinion as to “..what..is entertainment and what is not?” That is a fair question. However, before I answer it let me point out that the word “entertainment” was used in the first paragraph of my letter, and that the first paragraph was there as introduction to the two major arguments for McNeilly Park that I received from the Commissioners; those being: 1)parks (and other “facilities”) attract new, younger residents into Mt. Lebanon, and 2)parks increase property values. I conceded that the first point had some validity, but I raised the question as to whether it was necessary for a municipality to own parks and other facilities. I also conceded the second point – that parks increase the property value of homeowners – given certain conditions that have been adverted by the National Parks Service.

To answer Mr. Franklin's question, activities such as baseball, football, ice skating, swimming, and soccer, just to name a few, are all forms of entertainment. I have the comfort of knowing that the American Peoples Encyclopedia agrees with me. They are all commendable forms of entertainment. As to whether I think it is the responsibility of a local government to provide these things?; the answer is no. Do I think that the major role of a local government is to provide protection for its residents and infrastructure?; yes. Do I object to local governments providing their residents with parks and other forms of entertainment?; no – if the local government in question can afford it . I did suggest in my letter, and suggest again now, that perhaps Mt. Lebanon might learn something from the town of Sandy Springs, Georgia, which has outsourced almost everything it provides, except for police and fire protection. The Reason Foundation, which I support, has a lot of case studies (including Sandy Springs) and consultants available for any municipality interested in saving their residents tax dollars. I sent the Commissioners the “Annual Privatization Report 2010: Local Government Privatization, By Leonard Gilroy, Harris Kenny, Adam Summers and Samuel Staley, Edited by Leonard Gilroy,” but they were not apparently interested in it, as I did not receive any replies.

Mr. Franklin and his supporters advert that Mt. Lebanon is literally awash in support for sporting development of McNeilly Park. But that argument does not address the heart of my letter, which simply pointed out that increased property values due to parks are limited to properties within a certain vicinity of the park, and that the nature of the park itself has a lot to do with whether property values would actually go up.

Finally, since it seems we're asking questions that are related to, but not on, the points of my original letter, I'll ask Mr. Franklin and his supports a couple of questions of my own: 1)What percentage of a person's income should be confiscated by Mt. Lebanon in order to fund local parks and other “facilities”?; 2)Since the real estate tax is a form of regressive taxation, in that the tax must be paid out of a person's income but is not directly related to it, would you be in favor of eliminating the real estate tax completely and replacing it with an income tax? (As it stands now a person owning a home valued at $225,000, and with an income of $60,000 a year, pays $7070, 11.7% of his income, to Mt. Lebanon and the Mt. Lebanon School District in the form of real estate taxes; while a person owning a home of the same value but making $150,000 a year pays 4.7% of his income for the same taxes.)
Richard Gideon

August 24, 2011 10:03 AM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

I like that idea, Richard. Dave, not everyone will look back ten years from now and wish we did something sooner. However, you are right. If Bird Park is such a mess, let's spend the money to get it right. Correct the problems and stop looking for more problems somewhere else. Why can't we properly maintain things in Mt. Lebanon?

In the May 2008 issue of mtl magazine appears these quotes:

"Another plan in the works is a dog park, a feature the parks master plan recommended.

“The dog park issue was one of the most consistently raised issues by residents,” says Cicozi. “It has been included in every plan we’ve had for the McNeilly Park area.” If plans for McNeilly Park change, the issue of making parks friendlier to dogs and dog owners will be addressed, Donnellan says."

Another point made in that article was concerning a skateboard park. Since there was one in South Park, that was close enough. The person who commented at Monday's meeting saying how difficult it was driving all over Mt. Lebanon looking for fields, will appreciate how good we have it, when she starts driving her children to South Park or Oakdale to skateboard. I'm just sayin'.

Elaine Gillen

August 24, 2011 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is a fan of the property tax system, but it seems like we are stuck with it. Is it fair for everyone, absolutely not. In fact in Lebo, the current system tends to benefit the owners of big homes, and it remains to be seen if this will be rectified with the upcoming reassessment. Also, I can't envision an overhaul of the tax system that would enable ANY local municipality to recoup what it would lose in revenues if we did away with it. I’m no expert, but I sense we’re stuck with the system we have, regardless of my opinion. I’d be all for upgrading what we have and I’m sure many in my position feel the same way. However, when a suggestion is made that any new money be spent of athletic fields, we hear the same refrain from the people. I’m inclined to believe that if Monday’s meeting was to discuss a bond to repair/upgrade existing fields rather than create new ones, the same 5 people would have expressed.

I suppose my frustration stems from the fact that for decades Mt. Lebanon has valued offering recreational outlets to its residents. One need only drive down Cedar Blvd to reach that conclusion. Yet at some point, it became vogue for a few of our residents to suggest that it's now OK to sweep that long held value under the carpet - despite the fact that we have more children and adults participating in athletic and recreation programs than ever before.

When people look at "extras" in our community, the first thing some people look at it is our recreational facilities and our athletic programs. Would you be surprised to know that in 2009 we spent more on postage, word processing and copying than we did on the tennis center? In 2009, we also spent more on animal control than we did to operate the pool. In fact in 2009, we spent more on animal control than we did on recreation management, which includes the operation and management of ALL recreation programs.

Further, with the exception of the costs to operate the golf course, the tennis center, the ice rink and the pool (which are used by folks of ALL ages from any number of communities), the municipality contributes very little (other than existing green space) to our community’s other athletic programs. None of the youth sports associations receive municipal funds. Instead, each association contributes a modest amount each year BACK TO the municipality to offset the costs of field maintenance. The municipality does not directly fund the popular sports of baseball, football, soccer (except for its own in house programs) or lacrosse. It simply makes available 4 baseball fields and 1 multi-purpose field. It’s also important to note that with the exception of grass cutting, the 4 baseball fields (as well as the school district baseball fields), are maintained almost entirely by the baseball association despite the fact that the municipality receives money from the school district to maintain these fields.

So in reality, Mt. Lebanon doesn't "provide" these activities to its residents at all, it simply offers them 5 places to play . . . hardly a lavish undertaking by any stretch. But alas, it’s still us damn little league coaches who are sucking the life out of Mt. Lebanon.

Dave Franklin

August 24, 2011 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Franklin just admitted there is a problem with animal control in Mt. Lebanon.
A dog park will provide for the recreational needs of the animals, thereby reducing the cost of animal control.
Is there a bigger problem controlling athletes on the loose, with athletic fields being the best solution?
David Huston

August 24, 2011 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further to Bill Matthews 8/23 @ 10:13 PM :

Because McNeilly is a very poor as-is site for the proposed development, just the site preparation costs alone for the development are estimated to wastefully consume an extraordinary 36% of the estimated hard project costs of $3,467,404...which includes $315,219 for Engineering/Inspection, but excludes contingency costs and costs associated with bond issuance plus a laundry list of additional listed items not costed which could result in total project costs, excluding land, reaching $3.8 million. These costs are as of 6/27/2011.

Here is a breakdown of what constitutes the extraordinary 36% :

1) Demolition -------$141,000

2) Erosion Control--- 109,250

3) Earthwork--------- 986,250
---------

Total $1,236,500

What a waste -- how very sad ! And the degree of such costs has been known internally since about 2007, or about the second round of cost estimates for the development of McNeilly.

The original 2003 purchase price for the 23 or so acres at $1,832,000 which together with closing costs and cumulative interest expense so far on the $2 million in 2003 bond financing for the land purchase, likely brings the raw land cost to date at something like $2.5 million.

All told as of this date we're really looking at the likelyhood of $3.8 + $2.5 = $6.3 million for 2 soccer fields and a baseball field with lots of amenities that put it in the category of just another example of a Lebo Taj Mahal in the making.

We have yet to hear details on what the annual operating costs of this facility will be....and they will be significant if the true costs of necessary public safety & security, insurance, utilities, maintenance (labor) and supplies are included. Just think of that relatively isolated far-off location contiguous with Dormont, Baldwin and Pittsburgh, a 200 car paved & lighted parking lot, lavatories, 20 or so acres of fields and landscaped acreage, a stadium....who/how/at what cost will 24/7 security be guaranteed, and trespassing and unauthorized use by non-Lebo folks be prevented and prosecuted ?

And just how much will the field sports athletic groups be willing to contribute to all these costs ?
We know for a fact that 78% of Lebo households do not have children in MTLSD schools. And when the parents demand wants & wishes claiming they will pay for them, they fail to recognize & acknowledge that they in fact will be paying for something like only 25 cents on the dollar of such costs. I believe the same is true for things like this McNeilly project...I seriously doubt that some 75% of households without Lebo schoolchildren will ever use McNeilly, but will pay about 75% of the full development & operating costs each and every year if past practice continues.

Bill Lewis

August 25, 2011 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so aside from just not wanting to invest in recreation or athletic space, the two objections that I have heard against developing McNeilly are that its mosquito infested and that it is located on one of our borders.

Newsflash . . . every boundary of Mt. Lebanon touches another community! I grew up in the Twin Hills neighborhood just a few blocks from the City. Guess what, I never joined a gang nor did "non Lebo folks" roam into Mt. Lebanon to steal my bike. In my current home (on a border street), I look out over Scott Twp, however I've never thought to add an additional theft or vandalism rider to my homeowner's policy. Frankly, I'm willing to bet that the police and fire would make the same effort to get all the way over here to my house as they would to say Mission Hills.

Mr. Lewis, to suggest that we shouldn't develop McNeilly because it sits along a border occupied by "non-Lebo folks" who might trespass or vandalize the property is a pretty elitist (to be polite) attitude. Personally, I'd prefer to envision a nearby City resident or someone from Baldwin throwing a football with his kids on a Saturday morning, but I guess that's where you and I differ.

Also, while you're making everyone worry that developing McNeilly would result in an influx of criminals, please be reminded that one of the municipality's single largest (if not the largest) pieces of real estate is a recreational facility that is only barely contiguous with Mt. Lebanon. You might have heard of it Mr. Lewis, its that 95 acre tract called the Mt. Lebanon Golf Course, which I would note is only accessible by leaving Mt. Lebanon. It shares borders with Castle Shannon, touches only one dead end Mt. Lebanon street, has plenty of wooded access for those seedy "non-Lebo folks", and is full of professionally manicured fairways and greens that would certainly prove to be great targets for vandals. However, in my 40+ years in Lebo, including 6 years working at the golf course, I don't really recall it being the scene of outlandish crimes. I don't think the MtLPD ever increased its manpower simply to defend these 95 secluded acres. If you don't want to take my word for it, ask Commissioner Kluck who lived there for quite a long time.

My point is this, if you don't want to spend the money on new fields that's fine. But to suggest that these fields will be a nuisance, attracting a whole new criminal element that will require us to re-arm our police force, is simply absurd. Further, your assumptions that this development will be a "Taj Mahal" or a "stadium" are equally erroneous and not at all reflective of what had been discussed to date.

Dave Franklin

August 25, 2011 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Franklin,

I love it when you come after me ! As I have stated before in blog comments, you are a perfect example of a Lebo spectator in the far right field bleachers, without a scorecard, a broken pencil, with a pair of fogged glasses unable to clearly see or admit to what is actually going on.

You rarely quote relevant facts about issues, you take statements out of context, you rarely attend meetings unless you wish to pontificate at a podium, you possess, present or reference few if any factual documents to support your arguments and you tend to want to shoot the messenger rather than deal with fact-based data & points that conflict with your agenda. And you always want to have the last word, or comment, on blogs.

Keep it up, Dave. I truly love it !

Bill Lewis

August 25, 2011 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, we all thought the same of you as you waited until everyone who had SIGNED UP to speak was done so that you could cleverly volunteer to have the last word. And then we listened while you read from The History of Mt. Lebanon by Bill Lewis. Talk about pontificating . . .

I guess it's your world Bill and the rest of us are just paying rent. Thanks for letting us attend your meeting.

Dave Franklin

August 25, 2011 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I had no plan to speak at the meeting; and, because you don't normally attend the meetings and lack any familiarity with the protocol, signing up is not required....you are also clueless to the fact that I had been in attendance at two (2) meetings since 6:00 pm. in the Commission Chambers that preceeded the meeting you and all your coharts appeared only moments before the 8:00 pm. Adjourned meeting began. In fact, I was engaged in a discussion with a Commissioner immediately following the Discussion Session to just before the Adjourned meeting. See how you misrepresent situations and facts, Dave !

I decided to speak only after hearing your 15 minutes of worn-out claptrack...meeting policy permit only 5 minutes, but you droned on and the Chair extended you a courtesy and allowed you to continue....and did the same for me. However, my added time was in responding to Commission questions and requests for recommendations for McNeilly, which you fail to acknowledge and address...how & how much should the youth field sports groups contribute financially to the development of McNeilly.

Keep it up Dave. I love it !

Bill Lewis

August 25, 2011 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any regular reader of this blog would find it nearly impossible to believe that you had no intention of speaking against this proposal. The Commissioners even predicted to me beforehand that you would do exactly what you did. Lesson learned for me, I guess. Next time we can rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to go last.

Again, thanks for letting us participate.

Dave Franklin

August 25, 2011 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

Let me repeat...I had no intention to speak on McNeilly....I had already done so in prior meetings, in blog comments and prior discussions with several Commissioners. It was when after your crew, including SB member Mary Birks herding a flock of children with sports team attire, entered the room and you particularly droned on that I decided to rise to the occasion. I had no prepared notes, or talked from a prepared script like you did.

Commissioners "predicted" I would speak ? I'll bet...they know that when I do, I make usually make fact-supported statements and do my homework; and, the predictors were undoubtedly those in your camp or on your team or members of your sports organizations and perhaps concerned about what I might say in any venue.

The history of your kinds of lobbying-related activity are not well documented in the archives of the Muni or District...because they consist of largely behind-the scenes mail (electronic & postal), telephone and face-to-face conversational. The *official* history that does exist, and very difficult to access if more than 5-6 years old, is largely unknown to current or even recently elected and appointed officials, and conveniently not disclosed unless supportive of a particular internal agenda.

Do not make fun of my sometimes ability to quote and document Lebo history, Dave. You may very well not like what I can put forward.

Bill Lewis

August 25, 2011 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a list 500 folks who could be solicited to fund the new athletic field or the school. How much effort has Franklin put into any fund raising effort? He didn't even volunteer to pout up the first $1000 at the commission meeting. It is time for you to put up or shut-up, Dave!

John Ewing

August 25, 2011 2:58 PM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

Ahhh, this is the Dave Franklin we know and love.

Dave, I tried to get your attention at the meeting on Monday night, but you would never make eye contact with me. I wanted to say hi, since I had never seen you at a meeting before. I was sitting in the front row, right by the time clock. When you speak next time, look to your right and you will notice the clock. It is set for five minutes for each speaker. I try to get my point across in 3 minutes or less. Five minutes is pretty generous considering one is limited to four minutes at the beginning of a school board meeting. Even then, it can only be an agenda item.

Bill Lewis is one of the most detail oriented individuals I have ever met. He is respected in this community and is quite knowledgeable. You are not doing yourself any favors going after him.

Elaine Gillen

August 25, 2011 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I attended the school board meeting when they voted to buy out Sable's contract.
You spoke, and the District's recording is available on lebocitizens.
I remember you were very upset with the amount of the buyout and the secret reason for it.
Why the change now? How can you justify the municipality spending more than 6 times the Sable buyout, to improve a land parcel that was a mistake to purchase?
David Huston

August 25, 2011 4:25 PM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

Even when I disagree with Bill Lewis on policy, I'm glad there is someone with his institutional memory about what happened here 5, 10, and 20 years ago. That context is very valuable, even if it more valuable to his positions than to mine.

August 29, 2011 9:03 AM  

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