The fact is, the City got a better deal than they could have gotten (or would get if they reopened the process), just as Carlson said when he spoke at the Council luncheon meeting on October 16:
"...this community is now looking at getting $7 million for something that they could have gotten a heck of a lot less for."
There are members of staff who are celebrating tonight and who will fall into bed later, pull the covers up to their necks and fall off to sleep in blissful peace.
After the flak Mayor Carlson took over his statement about the "peanut gallery," he and Mary Collette made a point to express how pleased they were when a citizen offered critical remarks about the shortfall the city will take in paying off the parking garage that Hammons will soon own and control.
Collette, not long ago, allowed citizens 2 minutes to tell why they opposed the container ordinance and an additional 3 minutes if they had something constructive to say. She told citizens at that special Community Involvement Committee meeting:
"As Chair of this committee, we don’t even always take public comment but I just want you to know that we want to hear from each and every one of you, well, maybe not."
It was nice to see them making an effort to let the public know their comments are welcome. We can hope it was sincere.
But, back to Baier of BC Development, I told my husband over a week ago that I could see two choices for Rick Baier. He could come to the defense of Becky Spence and take on the City of Springfield or he could fire her and throw her under the bus. I didn't understand at the time that Spence was not a partner with BC Development, rather just an associate that BC Development was working with locally on this deal if they should win the bid for land at the former arena site. I'm going to guess that while Baier doesn't need to fire Spence under the circumstances, that he will likely not look to do business with her in the future. I think we should keep in mind that it is in the best interest of Rick Baier to play nice, not simply because he might want to work a future deal with the City of Springfield but because he might like to work future deals with other city governments in Missouri, city governments who have contact at meetings and events with other Missouri state muncipalities. You don't become a "sophisticated person with money to risk" by airing your dirty laundry in public.
Just as in the case of the Heer's deal the city had no choice on this deal and they really SHOULD be thanking their lucky stars they got the deal they got.
David Queen, the Attorney who worked with Mary Lilly Smith in the negotiations of term sheets between Hammons and HCW Evergreen said that the city could go through this process as many times as they wanted to, there was no limit to how many times they could restart the process, but now that all the cards are on the table, now that it is on record that Hammons is the ONLY developer that could make the deal work because of his exclusive right to food and beverage sales, his ownership of the 90' easement and his side deal with Opus to build new offices for BKD on a piece of Hammon's property, the city would NEVER be able to negotiate $7 million if this were reopened for bids again. This is the deal the city has and it's much better than it could have been.
Hammons, in his exclusive interview with KSPR after the luncheon meeting on October 16 made it pretty clear that he didn't much like the idea of building a hotel on the site, that he had concerns about Branson's new airport and the amenities they offer in Branson.
There are a lot of people who will likely be calling on Vincent David Jericho for an apology but I won't be one of them. I think he deserves a big thank you. It's my opinion that Vince has been good for the process. The business of the City of Springfield needs attention and input from its citizens.
If a dull, dry, timid, radio talk show host droned sweetly to his listeners,
"You should go to City Council meetings and stay involved in the process,"
...how many people do you think would have jumped through hoops to attend a Council meeting? How many people would be watching City government and City Council if Vince didn't "go over the wall?"
I don't care if you like Vincent David Jericho or not, I don't care if you like his methods or not, he's made and he's making changes in communications in our city and our community and regardless of whether Becky Spence took him for a ride or not, how many people in this city would be paying attention, be engaged and interested in city government if it weren't for him?
Just like everyone in the opinion business, sometimes you're going to be right and sometimes you're going to be wrong, Vince will be right and Vince will be wrong but even when he's wrong he's still right about one thing, citizens need to pay attention to their government and sometimes, once in a great while (and in the domain of radio talk) maybe the end justifies the means.
So, sure, beat the heck out of Vince if you want to, that's every person's perogative, just be careful, unless you never make a mistake yourself. I'm still a commoner and I still believe in the peanut gallery, my favorite guy is still the little guy and I'd still "bet" on him, not because he's "sophisticated," not because he's got "real money at risk," but because the little guy's opinion matters too. No one should be disparaged unfairly. Everyone deserves respect and if you think Vincent David Jericho hasn't invested his time and put his money where his mouth is in this community then you haven't been paying attention.
If, as a couple of City Council members said tonight, they are happy to hear from the citizens of Springfield, Missouri they should be thanking Vincent David Jericho. They are hearing from many more citizens than they used to hear from and we all know why.
Look, we shouldn't be about the city government vs the citizens of Springfield or the citizens of Springfield vs the city government. When, at all possible, we can give accolades to our city government for doing something right, then we should. Of course we'll always be able to find things that could have been done better. The city is right that they'll never work a deal or pass a bill or resolution that everyone in the city is happy with but if we all pay attention and we all work together then perhaps we can communicate ourselves to a time in the future when we can all celebrate together and isn't that what we all really want? We want good government. The city is saying it wants input from its citizens. Everyone should keep giving that input, not just the people that agree with what the city is doing but also those that disagree, and as Tony Messenger said in a recent column:
"...The best roads laid by government, in my book, are bumpy ones with lots of twists and turns. But we drive there together, like a big family squeezed into a station wagon going on a long summer vacation.
Sure, we'll fight and squirm and lash out at each other every now and then, but that's just part of the fun."
Contention and disagreement are not a bad thing, they are healthy when they are seen through to the end, the end being true communication and understanding.
I think Vincent David Jericho should keep doing his job, city staff should keep doing their jobs, City Council should keep doing theirs and as a citizen of Springfield you need to be doing yours.
Later, we're going to be looking at the statements Baier has made for consistency. I think that'll be interesting too. :)
Ya'll have a good night. Some of you can eat your peanuts now, those that didn't leave them in the seats at City Council Chambers. ;)