Posts Tagged ‘Mark Clear’

Is city government accessible?

December 28, 2009

There’s been some talk recently about inaccessibility in local government. The State Journal ran an editorial (which I can’t find now!) criticizing the city council for having meetings so late in the night, when most people in their right mind aren’t going to attend or even watch on TV. The vote on the Edgewater finally took place a little after 5 a.m. Minutes before Ald. Judy Cnare had a yoga class (one of these days I’m going to try the early bird thing).

Meanwhile, Brenda Konkel, comprehensive as ever, grades all the alders on their use of the internets. Although she takes alders to task, she makes clear that they’re not the only ones to blame:

They get no support whatsoever. It’s pretty sad for a city our size. The primary council office staff are too busy gossiping and playing solitaire to be bothered with being helpful to the alders.


She gives Bryon Eagon, Steve King, Mark Clear and Chris Schmidt F’s for their use of the city webpage. The explanation for Clear’s F is a bit sketchy, and hints at an alternative motive Brenda might have had in failing him.

Granted, some of those members, including Eagon, could easily say that there communication with constituents is better served by a blog, which is easier to manage and a little bit sexier (have you seen Bryon’s blog!) than the city website. On this issue though, the Council still fails. So few of the alders update their blogs enough to maintain any traffic or dialogue, and as a result, they probably don’t come up in search results easily and people stop referring to them. The most bizarre example I found was Larry Palm, who for some reason has a private blog that readers must be invited to. Why?

So what we seem to have is a lot of alders who aren’t using traditional or new methods of outreach, and many constituents who are out of touch with the happenings of city government.

Nevertheless, many of these naughty bloggers found their way on to Brenda’s blogroll, while certain scrappy, citizen reporters were (ahem) mysteriously bumped off it months ago. Let it be known: the Sconz is not vengeful nor impatient. Just a little puzzled.

Verveer: Edgewater should re-apply

December 2, 2009

In an interview with me, Ald. Mike Verveer said he could not make a prediction on the prospects of the Edgewater renovation that was rejected by the Council Landmarks Commission on Monday. However, Verveer noted that there was a circle of Council members, including Council President Tim Brueur, President pro tempore Mark Clear, and Ald. Bridget Maniaci, who have been working with the mayor and potential Edgewater developer Bob Dunn to get the project approved.

According to Verveer, Brueur and Clear – neither of whom have districts near the Edgewater – have become the mayor’s point men on getting the project approved. Maniaci, whose district does cover parts of the concerned neighborhood, has cited support from her constituents as the reason for her voting to approve the renovation. As of this time, Maniaci has not responded to an email in which I asked her if she believed the project would be moving forward.

Verveer is reluctant to override the Landmarks Commission’s rejection of the renovation plan. “Never in 30 years has a certificate from the Landmarks Commission been overturned. I have a hard time believing the Council, in all its wisdom, should overturn the decision made by the experts on Landmarks,” he told me. In addition, he cited historical preservation as a priority. However, he emphasized his hope that the project would live on, and that it would change its plan to fit the expectations of the commission.

Dunn has until noon tomorrow to decide whether he wants to try and push the project through the Council. Bruer says he believes the project is dead.

Meanwhile, the mayor is strongly urging the Council to resurrect the renovation, emphasizing the public amenities (the improved lake view), the job opportunities and the tax revenue. On his blog he criticized the commission’s interpretation of the zoning restrictions on height.