Bad timing. The Salem City Council scheduled tonight's 6:30 pm work session on the new police facility at the same time as the Final Four Championship game between Villanova and North Carolina.
Since I want to attend the work session to see what new political craziness the folks at City Hall will unleash on unsuspecting citizens, and also want to come home ASAP after the work session and immerse myself in my recorded finale of March Madness, I figured I'd write most of a blog post report on the work session beforehand.
That way I can sit at the meeting, laptop in my lap, and type in red-tinged answers to the questions below -- the most important topics Salem's Mayor and city councilors should address regarding the size and cost of a new police facility, and making seismic upgrades to City Hall and the Library to save lives when the Really Big One earthquake hits.
For background, refer to the City of Salem staff analysis, "Police Facility Planning Progress Report."
Download 4_4_16 City Council Work Session Materials FINAL
Next day "bottom line" update: As you can read in red below, I left the City Council meeting at 10 pm, worried that my head was going to explode after sitting through 3 1/2 hours of meandering unproductive discussion that, pretty clearly, was going nowhere. This morning I watched the CCTV video meeting to see what I missed at the very end of the meeting.
(Aside from the freaking great Final Four championship match between Villanova and North Carolina, which I watched a recording of when I got home -- by far the best part of my evening.)
At the time I left, Councilor Andersen had made a motion to settle on the smaller-sized 125,000 square foot police facility plan that leaves out a new 911 center and saves about $11 million. As almost always happens with Andersen motions (he's the most progressive member of the right-wing council), a substitute motion was quickly made.
That motion was the one that passed. It basically leaves everything the same, asking the consultants to come back with a revised cost and layout plan for the original 148,000 square foot police facility on a smaller site -- since a decision has been made to save the dental clinic on the north end of the O'Brien property.
So like I surmised, nothing was really accomplished last night.
The Mayor and City Council haven't settled on a size for the police facility. They haven't determined whether seismic upgrades to the Library and City Hall should be part of a public safety bond. They aren't sure whether a 911 call center should be part of the new police facility. And they never got around to discussing the polling/survey data that was supposed to be part of the meeting agenda.
Continue reading "Salem City Council struggles with police facility and earthquake-safety questions" »