Friday, July 24, 2009

City Council Meeting

Got to last Tuesday's City Council meeting about an hour and a half late but apparently it didn't start until 7:30, due to the goings on at the Liquor Control Commission. Lance Jack apparently had about a hundred supporters there for his third (failed) attempt to get a liquor license for Fat Patties. The commission split 3/3 with Cole, Wissmann and McDaniel supporting the application and the other three opposing. Beer garden applications for Upside Downtown and Hangar 9 went through OK, though there were some questions about Hangar 9's putting its garden next to the street rather than behind the building. Express Burrito got the nod for its change over from fast Mexican to bar and grill, while the Spotlight Bar and Grill failed to get its application re-approved. too much liquor sold and not enough food for the class of licnese they have. Not sure what that means for the future of the restaurant/bar.

When I arrived, Councilman Wissman was finishing his mea culpa for his probably vote to close the Eurma Haynes Child Care Center, saying as a liberal it was hard for him to do. Councilmen McDaniel and Fritzler followed suit, lauding the center, its staff and his service to the community BUT...(when you are in a negotiation, if the other side says "But", it's shorthand for "ignore everything I've said up to this point"), they didn't see how the city could continue to support the center to the tune of $200,000 a year for only 33 families, half of which don't even live in Carbondale.

Councilman Haynes, a graduate of the Center, as he mentioned several times during his speech, argued for keeping the Center open, saying that maintaining the social support for the families was more important than then Center "making a profit or breaking even", which he said other council members had argued for. Must have been Pohlman or Jack (whose supporters had left by then: beer important, child care, not so much) as I didn't hear McDaniel or Fritzler (or the little bitt of Wissmann I caught) argue for the Center making a profit, so much as fewer people using it with ever increasing city support. One anecdote by McDaniel especially struck me. She mentioned seeing children, who lived only a couple of blocks from the Hayes Center, boarding a bus to go to a different day care center in the community.

After the Mayor's closing homily (and he did call it a homily) about the support the city had given the Center the past 5 years, the vote was called. Six to one in favor of closing the Center, the one being Councilman Haynes. After 34 years, the Eurma C. Hayes Child Care Center closes August 1st, except for HeadStart, which remains until August 18. Mayor Cole then directed City Manger Gill to look into alternative uses for the building and closed the meeting.

You can read unhappy parents' reponses here and here.

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