Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 5
An interesting quote: "The Atlantic says "San Diego and Miami are both victims of their states' horrible bout of real estate implosion and credit crisis."
And now on with our regular program.
In Kevin Faulconer's State of the District speech, he stuck with the politician's rules of engagement; say a lot of words, make your points on accomplishments, leave the audience smiling. He hit a lot of issues, but it seems he was using a wiffle ball (a ball with holes). One thing this city's politicians do well is talk a lot, about a lot, but they don't do a lot.
Recently I heard a proposal that City Council members should be paid less because they do not really work a full-time schedule. Then there is my favorite issue: COMMUNICATION. Several months ago 2 of Mr. Faulconer's employees (James Lawson & Tony Manalatos) agreed to meet with me. I left that meeting feeling pretty good about opening lines of communication. Boy, was I wrong. That was a short term, placating gesture. After a few assists, I don't even get replies to my e-mails. They & Mr. Faulconer's staff have yet to learn that keeping an open dialog & communicating with your constituency is (stealing from Ford) Job 1. Any response is better than nothing at all. Take a second to read the e-mail, hit "reply", give it your best shot. It sounds so simple, but very few people practice it. I used to work with attorneys and my biggest pet peeve was their failure to return phone calls.
On to some of my questions:
Why don't politicians (generally) respond to phone calls, e-mails, etc. from their constituency? Do not give me the pat answer of 'too busy'. Fix your priorities.
Is there any quality control for street & sidewalk repairs? There is a stretch of sidewalk on the east side of 7th that was broken up concrete with numerous holes. The repair consisted of filling with blacktop (I am not really sure what that stuff is). There was no leveling & the sidewalk is actually more dangerous than it was before the repairs.
Does the owner of The Ivy Hotel have a special status with CCDC, City oficials, etc.? Why do they continue to defy the rules and get away with it? Shouldn't there be a fine? Can't someone in some authoritative capacity do something other than send a letter telling them they don't have the proper license?
Who pays for the myriad of fire/paramedic calls to the Peach Tree Inn?
What is the deal with the California Theatre? I have been told it is privately owned and that the historical society has made it difficult to sell. If a fairly new, well kept cigar shop can be declared blight (closed about 5 years ago & still nothing in its place), why not the crumbling down, odiferous, ugliness of the California Theatre?
Why is the Health Department not getting involved with the homeless issues? Human waste, trash, alcohol, probably drugs, are all things that could lead to disease & the Health Dept. response is to provide me with a list of other agencies that can help if I were to become ill!!
I don't know about you but, I think human waste on our sidewalks, streets, parking garages, planters, etc. is a potentially serious problem. Maybe someone from the Health Dept. should stroll around the downtown library & smell for themselves. Their website contains the following: "..County Health Dept. is responsible for...In addition, it prevents disease caused by pests." They do not provide a specific definition of "pests".
Last questions for today & all are related to the MANY empty spaces/condos/apartments. Are there property taxes on empty structures? If so, are they the responsibility of the developer? What about HOA fees? If a building has 100 units with only 20 sold/occupied, do those few residents pay their share of 100 units or do they pay more until the units are sold? Are HOA fees regulated? If, by whom?
As a downtown resident, I put up with a lot of issues because I choose to live here. I also believe that the residents of downtown are left out when it comes to decision making by the City. It appears that money is the driving force behind many seemingly crazy decisions made by our leaders.
One note about noise; 2:30 AM I am awakened by floor shaking, vibrating music. Too late for clubs, I got up and looked out at a pedicab, 2 men and a boombox. Yelling from my balcony was ineffective. Finally, a homeless man on the west side of 9th, got up walked over & appeared to be yelling at these young men. Maybe they did not speak English, but the man reached over & turned off the radio!!! He then went back to his bed on the sidewalk and the 2 men apparently got the message.