I have a take on tonight’s Council Meeting that you won’t get from anyone else. On the way home, I thought, Andre Knight and Ruben Blackwell could charm the bees out of a tree. Here are these two handsome men, right off the cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly Magazine. Both have a great sense of style and wear their clothes well. Both men have great speaking voices. They are articulate, bright, and sincere. Tonight, they each had their moment in the sun; moving and memorable. Mr. Knight reminded everyone about the great work OIC does in the community. He personalized this with a heartfelt story about how OIC has influenced his life, beginning with help to go to college. You know how Usher walks on stage to sing? He often says, “Let the whole church say, amen!” As Mr. Knight talked, there was soft amen- like reactions from the audience.
Mr. Blackwell spoke some lines from a Martin Luther King address that were inspiring, with his delivery style. His smile alone could melt butter. This is the kind of thing that can happen at a City Council meeting. I wouldn’t have missed these ‘bee charmers’ for the world tonight. During the public hearings, many who spoke were at their best and made reasoned justification why an 18 million dollar parking garage and attending issues are a bad idea. There were a few comments I couldn’t make heads or tails of, and one man made a poor attempt at subtlety about not liking ‘crackers.’ There was good humor, especially from an older gentleman, who delighted everyone. I think every seat was taken. (I got there at 6:00 to be sure I got mine.)
What I didn’t get about tonight’s meeting is this position, which Mr. Blackwell, articulated beautifully, even if I don’t agree, that somehow the Edgecomeb side of life has been waiting for a hotel and parking garage for too long and the time is now, and by gosh, regardless of the cost to the taxpayers, the closed bidding process, or that there is no overall plan, or check and balance on what things actually do cost, this project is meet and right, so to do. (a phrase from my Episcopal prayer book)
Don’t forget that the projections of occupancy and usage are a shot in the dark. I don’t believe people are that bent out of shape over the idea of a hotel, as much as they have rightful concerns about the costs, decisions being made by people under investigation, and the priorities across the board. It’s hard to wrap our minds around a hotel and parking garage if we need $62 million for our water and sewer system infrastructure.