Many of our readers regularly attend City Council meetings. At times they have noted that the actual events at the meetings and the reports in the Big Timber Pioneer don’t square up. That is typical of media coverage, which is mostly influenced by space, cost and philosophy. It is one of the reasons we started this website. We want to provide our readers with more in depth information on local governance issues and links to the larger picture. Obviously, we have a lot to learn.
With some of our posts , we have reported the City Council meetings verbatim from the recordings. We are not going to do that for the Dornix Park Licensing Agreement meeting but we may in a future post if it seems necessary and the recorded minutes are available to anyone at the City office.
Our greatest head-scratcher is this: Why didn’t Bill Frazier immediately advise that the Dornix Park motion made by Councilman Ferguson on October 14th 2010 be rescinded within moments of its presentation? Frazier cautioned after the motion was made and passed. Even after the motion was passed, the City Attorney’s warning offered no solution to remedy the problem he belatedly pointed out. According to Councilman McCauley, the injunction and lawsuit by the Friends of Dornix Park followed within 48 hours of the meeting. That seems like a very short time to prepare the legal niceties. After over a year of legal wrangling, which cost the Dornix plaintiffs a lot more than the City, we are stuck with a License Agreement which seems an obtuse fix for a problem that our City Attorney should have headed off if he had been doing what he gets paid to do – protect the City. Mr. Mayor and City Council members, why is Bill Frazier still the City Attorney?
We understand hindsight is 20/20 but there are lessons to be learned here for all of us. First, and foremost, we must be involved in our governance. The price of ambivalence is painfully obvious these days.
Second, the City Council over-reacted and paid a price for it but their instincts were spot on. The Dornix Park project was dying a quiet death. It had been discussed ad nauseam in many, many public meetings and the curtain was pulled back. It exposed the agenda of former Mayor Taylor, Tom Biglen, Sally Owen-Still, and the Yellowstone Business Partnership whose intention was to make Dornix Park a Pilot Project in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and a forward base in the fight to take away our rights and local decision-making authority. The roughly $18M “wish list” was a road map and a slush fund for a much larger agenda-Agenda 21 to be precise. How many doubters are still scoffing? As we’ve said before, do your own investigating. The existence of and advocates for the UN’s Agenda 21 can no longer be disputed. You can find information about it on this blog, or simply search it on the Internet. All that is left to decide is which side of the fence you are on.
Third, a vocal minority had it’s way with the majority. The minority Dornix plaintiffs sued and someone had to come up with real money. We wonder if it will be written off in one of the plaintiff’s tax returns as “license development fees”? There were a couple of vocal and not so veiled threats at the public meeting by plaintiffs to the suit indicating to us they were ready to ink this deal and stop the legal meters. The City was ready too. The threats by the Friends of Dornix Park were not very nice. Picking on out-of-staters (even Californians) is narrow minded, elitist and just not nice. “Let’s put the NICE back in Big Timber” as the ad in the Big Timber Pioneer says. Seems a bit of a double standard doesn’t it?
Finally, the license agreement is too long in term, potentially a dangerous liability for the City, and a poor outcome of an unfortunate legal process that could have been avoided if some of us had been thinking clearly and acting decisively at the time. And it could also have been avoided if the City Attorney had done his job. We weren’t and he didn’t. Live and learn right?
In our opinion, there is still considerable confusion that exists in this County between the concepts of “community development” vs. “economic development”. Community development tends to focus on niceties and amenities. Economic development tends to focus on jobs and expanding the tax base. We suggest we need more of the latter.
The next post will report on the City Council Meeting from December 5th and fill in a couple of blanks you didn’t read about in the local paper.