Sunday, January 27, 2008

Council Bill 2007-027

I don't think there are many people who aren't concerned about the environment and about conserving energy these days.

Since so many people are already contemplating the environment and wanting to live more environmentally friendly lives I just wonder if it's necessary for the City of Springfield to contribute $20,000 and enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Partnership for Sustainability. That is what Council Bill 2008-027 is intended to fascilitate. The bill will come before Council Monday night as a first reading bill and it will be open for public comment.

"...the Partnership for Sustainability is a new group designed to help local businesses and institutions lead the Springfield/Greene County community toward environmental and economic sustainability...."

The city wants to be "an active participant and to contribute $20,000."

Not too long ago the City introduced a "green building policy" because they want to be leaders in green building. They want to set an example to encourage the rest of the business and local community to consider building green, and I think building green is a great idea. I'm not opposed to becoming more environmentally friendly. I'm not opposed to energy conservation or recycling, etc., but I marvel that all these environmental issues keep cropping up at Council meetings unnecessarily. (You can throw your organically grown tomato or free range egg at me now, I know you want to.)

I mentioned in a Community Free Press article in December, 2007 (Citizens Helped Change City in 2007) that City Attorney Dan Wichmer had told me that it wasn't necessary for the Council to pass a green building resolution to build green. Wichmer said all the Council has to do is tell city management that they'd like a new government building or all new government buildings to be built green and management would simply honor the Council's request. All they really have to do is ask. Wichmer said, and I partially paraphrase, that the resolution was just to show the City was taking the lead in building green and the community ought to follow their lead. The question is, is it necessary to invest so much time, energy and taxpayer dollars into making such a statement?

If the city wants to get the message out to the community that they are leaders in building green, they should build green, then, when the new green built government building is open, at the ribbon cutting ceremony when the media and press are present couldn't they simply let the public know that the city of Springfield has built yet another beautiful green building that will be more economically and environmentally sustainable? Couldn't they just announce that they are leaders in building green and the community ought to follow their lead?

I can't understand why it is necessary to spend taxpayer money to join with another group to promote building green. I can't understand why it was necessary to propose and then table a green building resolution because people who have built green in the past didn't think the resolution went far enough and they wanted the public to have more input. Now, the public (because they don't have enough to do watching how the city handles the container ordinance and addresses issues from the audit report, trying to make sure they have adequate input into the Council's City Manager Search Committee process...etc., etc., etc.) must spend time making sure the city handles this green building resolution right, investing valuable time away from their own lives, families and businesses to make sure that the city, if they are going to pass a resolution, passes the right resolution. Planning and Zoning have invested heaven knows how many man hours and administrative hours in studying and writing the resolution only to have it tabled. Discussions and meetings have ensued and changes will be made, translating into more Planning and Zoning meetings, man hours and administrative hours invested in a resolution that is intended to do nothing other than to say, "Look at what the city is doing! We're building green! Follow our lead!" When all they really have to do is follow the Nike ad campaign's slogan and "just do it." Then tell about it.

That is why I think all this green building policy resolution stuff and alliances with environmental groups and contributions of $20,000 here and $8,000 there would be better spent going straight into the police and fire pension fund instead of unnecessary, time consuming and expensive alliances, contributions and resolutions meant to do nothing other than make a statement.

Dear City Council, just do it, then make your statement. The media will give you your moment in the sun free of charge.

Another side issue of concern for me is that a certain member of the City Council is in alternative heating sales and I guess there's nothing unethical about promoting environmental and economic sustainability, it just troubles me when a member that is in that business (who naturally knows more about it, that's a given) uses televised City Council meeting time to promote something that in turn, could be beneficial to his business. I don't know, does that bother anyone else?


Busplunge said...

Nice post, but you oughta know by now they are gonna do what they dang well please.

majc forever said...

For the life of me I can't find this group Partnership for Sustainability so who gets the $20,000? Granted I am at work and am doing a quick search but if anyone can fill me in on this at that would be great. BTW Jacke your blog is great!

Anonymous said...

I would assume the orgainization is run by the wife, son or daughter of a local power bumpkin.

Thank you for the alert Jacke.

Jacke M. said...

Majc, if you will follow the agenda link and then click on the bill number you can read all about it, but here's a quote from the bill:

"NOW THEREFORE, the parties do hereby mutually covenant and agree as follows:

1.) The City agrees that it shall contribute a sum not to exceed $20,000 for the purpose of participating in the FORMATION* and ADMINISTRATION* of a committee to be known as the Partnership for Sustainability whose purpose is to examine and study the issue of sustaining the environment and energy supply in order to better utilize and conserve valuable resources...."

*emphasis mine

Anonymous said...

"participating in the FORMATION* and ADMINISTRATION*"

Great just great.

Looks like another "Sunshine, Lollypops and Rainbow organization.

Can you have that song play while we view your website ??

tom said...

Another 20K bites the dust down the inevitable black hole.

I wonder who is heading up this "green" committee and how much future money is going to be pumped into it. Sound like a hiding place for some of CU's excess.

Jacke M. said...

"Another 20K bites the dust down the inevitable black hole."

Well, there's one sure fire way that "another 20K" will "bite the dust," Tom. That is if there is NO ONE TO STAND AND OPPOSE IT.

There was no one to stand and oppose it.

I did my part.

Anonymous said...

Is this a 40k deal with CU also sending 20k to the same place??

When the send out the checks, someone will need to hide in the bushes to see who comes to the mailbox...

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