have some explaining to do...
In my reporting on the idiotic attempt to give away city owned land to Dr. Fry, I forget to mention two other Republicans who deserve credit in their attempt to push this deal through.
1. 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Caladrino:
If you watch the video clip, you'll notice that Councilman Caladrino was so anxious to make a motion to APPROVE THE AD-HOC REPORT that he forgot to wait for Councilman Knapp to actually read the report into the record. This brings me to...
2. 3rd Ward Councilman/ Common Council President Joe Cavo:
It was 3rd Ward Councilman Cavo who seconded 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino's motion to APPROVE THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE REPORT.
If you MAKE A MOTION or SECOND the motion to TO APPROVE A REPORT, to usually because you approve of the measure so much that you have no problem bringing it to a vote. This is EXACTLY what 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino and 3rd Ward Councilman Cavo meant when they made and seconded the motion to APPROVE the ad-hoc report.
This begs the question:
- Why would 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino and 3rd Ward Councilman Cavo make a motion to approve the ad-hoc report's recommendation THEN turn around and vote against the same report?
- Why was 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino in such a rush to make a motion to approve the ad-hoc report (before the report could be read into the record) given the history with the land in question and knowledge of the public's past opposition to the deal?
Why would 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino know about the public's past opposition you ask? Why because the land in question...84 Hospital Ave...THE 3RD WARD...you know, Cavo and Caladrino's WARD!
- Why, after seeing the overwhelming negative response from the other council members, didn't 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino simply withdrawn his motion?
Here, I'll get to the obvious.
The Republicans screwed up and covered their asses. It's painfully obvious that this screw-job of a land deal was set to pass or else it would have never gotten to the floor in the first place. Remember Seabury's recommendation during the ad-hoc committee:
Mr. Seabury moved to recommend to the Council to approve the license agreement with active input from the Director of Public Works and Traffic Engineer
Althogh was NO input from the Director of Public Works and Traffic either at the ad-hoc committee OR at the council meeting that night, they (the Republicans) brought this item to the floor anyway.
Let's not forget:
Along with being a TEACHER, Seabury is also the MAJORITY LEADER of the Common Council. He's been around long enough to know about the past attempts by Dr. Fry to acquire this land and the disapproval from the council in regards to giving this piece of land away so WHY did he approve the ad-hoc report AND vote in favor of the deal WHILE stating during the ad-hoc committee that he doesn't recall a time ever when the council went against the recommendation of the Planning Department (who disapproved of the deal)?
Here are Seabury very words from the ad-hoc report:
Mr. Knapp stated the charge of the committee was to consider a request to lease land located at 84 Hospital Ave. Mr. Knapp said the report from the Planning Department was negative and asked Mr. Pinter to explain. Mr. Pinter said that the requirement of state law is to provide a report. The council would have to override a negative Planning Commission recommendation by a 2/3 vote. Mr. Seabury said that he didn't ever remember going against a Planning recommendation.
3rd Ward Councilmen Caladrino and Cavo's action exposes the fact that the Republicans on the council were moving forward with approving this deal plain and simple...what really happened is that there was a Republican absent which screwed the 2/3 majority needed to get this land deal passed. Once they knew that they didn't have ONE Democrat on board with the deal, the Republicans bailed out on the whole thing and left Knapp (whose a freshman) out to dry.
Does this give Knapp a pass? NO. He was the former chair of Zoning and should have had the foresight to simply extend the ad-hoc committee until more information was available (i.e. hearing testimony from Public Works and Traffic) as well as asking himself whether or not there were any opposition from the neighborhood towards this deal (and YES there is PLENTY of opposition from neighbors towards this deal as they've spoken up against this and other attempts to develop that stretch of road on Hospital Ave in the past (again the property is in the 3RD WARD, Caladrino's ward).
Whatever the case, although Knapp (and DEFINITELY Majority Leader Seabury) votes are bizarre, 3rd Ward Councilmen Cavo and Caladrino's vote to APPROVE THE REPORT makes absolutely NO SENSE given that they turned around and voted against the deal....unless their true intentions WAS THE APPROVE the deal (which definitely AND WITHOUT QUESTION would go against the majority of residents who live on Hospital Ave.) until they realized that they didn't have to votes to make it happen.
Oh...did I mention that the neighborhood (who has been opposed to any further development on that stretch of Hospital Ave) had NO IDEA about the land deal because they weren't notified by the city?
No heads up from 3rd Ward Councilman Cavo.
No heads up from 3rd Ward Councilman Caladrino.
This brings back memories of the Terrywile land swap which brought about the bill by State Rep Joe Taborsak that requires any municipality to hold a public hearing whenever the city sells off city owned land (the case of Hospital Ave is different because of a land license loophole in Taborsak's bill that someone at City Hall found out).
UPDATE: Silly me, in m haste, I forgot to mention that Joe Cavo is ALSO a Councilman who is SUPPOSE to represent the 3rd Ward. The post has been updated to reflect that fact.