Click http://vimeo.com/14848740 to see the video of the recent public meeting where citizens are expressing concerns about how the Cohen Administration is taking this down the road to ruin by ignoring citizen requests to create a non-profit corporation to oversee it and instead, turn it over to a developer. Listen to the woman at about 5:30 and hear Alderman Kenny Kirby respond--and the laughs and guffaws that followed. Then keeping listening to the next statement from the other woman a minute or two later.
Kirby stands in the doorway looking like he is afraid to enter the meeting. He blocks the doorway wearing a number 24 athletic shirt while his colleagues Dick Israel and Fred Paone sit in the audience. The mayor's spokesperson Phill McGowan does his bets to spin everything for the mayor, but the big question is Where was Doug Smith? Where was the former Ward One Resident's Association President who is now overseeing the Market House work when a meeting was held in Ward One specifically about the Market House? Hey--has anyone seen former mayoral candidate Chris Fox? After all, he based much of his campaign on a plan he had for the Market House.
Later, Alderman Ian Pfeiffer takes his place in the doorway.
Also, listen carefully Harvey Singer of Eastport who poses a question at 30:00. Singer is a real estate economist. Then Alderman Israel responds an another citizen sums up the flawed governmental process at about 36:00.
Also, you will note the art on the wall in the room at History Quest which states "Independence Won! Patriots Make a Stand".....yeah.
Kathy Durkan of the Sustainable Business Alliance sent out a followup email saying "As we discussed, before getting the group together again ASBA will meet with the Mayor to discuss the consensus reached last night. We will call for the creation of the citizen/business board described in the Comprehensive Plan, the Market House Group's recommendations, and the report of the Transition Team. We will also press for the City to discontinue the active negotiations for the lease on the Market House, while further steps are taken to engage the community in the creation of the vision for downtown."
And ACP will be watching carefully to see how the Cohen Administration handles this....and dpeasking of which, lo and behold, as I was about to post this, I got a news release from Mr. McGowan. It is pretty obvious that this came about because of the meeting held by ASBA and is a result of the mayor reacting and not being proactive. But it appears from the tone that the overarching goal to create a nonrofit advisory board is all but dead. And remember, he is preapring to spend $50k of our money to lawyerize this lease.:
Mayor to Offer Progress Report on Market House Negotiations_________________________________
Public briefing on Thursday, Sept. 16 to include Gone to Market representatives
Annapolis, Md. (09-10-10) – As the City continues its exclusive [ACP notes...."exclusive"] negotiations with Gone to Market LLC to rejuvenate the Market House, Mayor Joshua J. Cohen invites the public to attend a public briefing on Thursday, Sept. 16. At this meeting, the Mayor will provide a progress report to bring the public up-to-date on the status of the discussions and the decision points ahead.
The meeting will occur from 6 to 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, and it will be broadcast live on City TV (Verizon Channel 34 and Comcast Channel 99/100).
Representatives from the City administration and from Gone to Market will both offer presentations that elaborate on their respective visions and goals. At the end of the presentations, the Mayor will moderate a question-and-answer period with the audience.
Comments from Phill McGowan of the Mayor's Office sent in after publication:
1) While the press release was distributed on Friday afternoon, I informed the participants Thursday night that the mayor had organized a public meeting for Sept. 16 to provide a status update on the Market House negotiations between the City and Gone to Market LLC. It has been in the works for some time.
2) The $50,000 figure that has been cited by this blog and others for legal counsel is wildly inaccurate. As I informed the audience Thursday night, the City has paid a $7,500 retainer to secure the services of DLA Piper. The law firm, however, is not yet on the clock. The intent is to bring in outside counsel only when there is a formalized contract to vet. The importance of retaining top-notch legal counsel is essential to ensure that any executed contract protects the interests of City taxpayers.
ACP appreciates Mr. McGowan's response. However, we would still like to know where was Doug Smith?