Shock! The Metro Council is apparently factional:
In the end, Tuesday turned into just another strange chapter in the ongoing fight by some to save the 117-acre fairgrounds and racetrack. During the process, one council member questioned the council’s lack of civility in discussing the fairgrounds issue, and is eyeing a special work session to help facilitate some genuine discussion.
Those concerns, and the call for a casual work session on a future Saturday, came from Councilman Mike Jameson, who said he’s sensing “antagonisms and animosities” right now in a way he’s never seen during seven-plus years on the council.
“We are separating into camps,” Jameson told his council colleagues. “We are talking past each other.”
Jameson said he envisions the fairgrounds work session to be a “roundtable discussion that is public, transparent,” allowing council members to sit “in jeans and slacks” to talk respectfully about the issue at hand.
The source of the commotion Tuesday was a bill proposed by the council Budget and Finance Committee chair Megan Barry that would keep the state fair and expo center at the fairgrounds for one more year, but demolish the property’s racetrack to make way for a 40-acre park. The bill, co-sponsored by eight other council members, comes as Mayor Karl Dean pulled back on plans earlier this month to immediately pull the plug on the fairgrounds.
Barry’s bill came before the council Tuesday on the first of three votes. Under normal council procedures, bills on first reading unanimously pass without discussion.
But Councilman Duane Dominy, who supports the preservation of the fairgrounds and racetrack, pulled the bill separately and later called for a surprise public hearing on the issue. It was a tactic the council’s coalition of fairgrounds supporters worked to their advantage just last month.
Dominy’s move prompted At-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, a stickler for adhering to council rules, to pull all bills on first reading, giving the evening an especially unusual feel.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS