Monday, September 26, 2005

Elton Dodson Writes In

Super-Commissioner Elton Dodson (insert your own "cape and tights" joke here) writes in this afternoon, to clue us in on his thoughts on the La Puerta Del Sol imbroglio and the upcoming (we hope!) War on Poverty.

He was also kind enough to send us advance copies of two letters he'll be sending in to the editors at the ABH. One concerns the LPDS jazz, the other his advocacy for public access TV in Athens. We hope that they'll both show up in the local paper tomorrow, although we have our doubts.

One point he makes it that both we and the ABH kind of got it wrong on interpreting his opinions on LPDS. In the grand tradition of political ass-covering, we would point out that the ABH was none too clear, and we appreciate Dodson putting us right.

To clarify, while Dodson is personally a fan of the LPDS project, he has been hearing a significant amount of criticism from the community. And, his decision on October 4 is not going to be influenced by worries about pissing States off. Sez Dodson:

"While Commissioner McCarter and I would find ourselves in a tense relationship if I vote for this proposal, that is in no way influential on my opinion in this matter. While I certainly give Commissioner McCarter’s options in his district careful consideration, my decisions are my own. Though as a citizen I am a regular customer and cheerleader for Mr. Rubio and his contributions to our community, my decisions as an elected representative must be consistent with the needs and demands of my constituents, especially where a proposed rezoning will directly impact surrounding neighborhoods. Rarely do so many neighborhood associations lend their collective voices to formally oppose a rezoning, as has been the case here. I would be derelict in my duty if I did not separate whatever personal feelings I have about this project from the public dialogue created by it. I have made no decision on this matter, and will not until public comment has ended during our voting meeting. At that time, I will make what I believe is the best decision for the 10th district. Whatever anger a commissioner may direct my way on any issue is irrelevant
where it is contrary to the best interests of our community. If a colleague chooses to
sever a relationship with me over a single rezoning, I believe the cost of maintaining such
a relationship is in any case too great an obstacle to effective representation and I
welcome the breach."

We're glad to know that Dodson is a supporter (at least personally) of Bruno Rubio's efforts. We hope that he will be supporting LPDS officially on October 4th. Meanwhile, it's important to note that he's doing what an elected official should do in a situation like this - listening to voices from the community who contact him. Problem is, that for all of McCarter's carping on Rubio's "spin", the pro-LPDS forces really haven't done a great job of rallying up and contacting their local electeds.

Commissioner Dodson has shown, by reaching out to us, and by and through a number of actions since he took office, that he is open to hearing new ideas (as well as coming up with a few himself from time to time). So, if you're pro-tostones like us, shoot him an email and let him know how you feel about it.

The Super-Commissioner sent us a bunch of stuff in his email to the crack editorial staff; more than we can use in one post. We were planning on doing some more public access-related posting in the next day or two, and will be including some his comments in that respect then.

So we'll leave it at this for now. But, before we go, map props to the Commish for writing in, and we hope that he'll continue to do so.


hillary said...

What about if Dodson and McCarter _are_ your commissioners, and you've already let them know how you feel. Are you just screwed?

Jmac said...

I suppose you just get more folks to send them emails and call them ... folks that are like-minded with your thoughts and views. I mean, McCarter ain't budging, but I think Dodson might be swayed if there is significant support. It appears Kinman is the same way.

RandomThoughts said...

Just a short thought. I have no dog in this fight - the cuisine gives me indigestion and I live on the West side. But. Has it occurred to you that maybe you are in the minority and that most people don't want this development?

Just a thought.

Publius said...

If so, then so be it. Of course the Commissioners shouldn't make their votes off a measurement of how many of their constituents support or oppose it alone, although that is a big factor.

We could be on the wrong side of this one, as far as public opinion goes, but that doesn't make our support any less valid, does it?

Our purpose in pushing this issue is to rally up any support out there for LPDS and activate them.

hillary said...

Of course it's occurred to me. I just don't buy it. I think there is a large portion that doesn't care one way or the other, a small number of vocal opponents, most of whom live in Cedar Creek, and an even smaller number of vocal proponents. But I also think the opponents have stupid reasons for opposing the project.

Publius said...

Agreed. I think most people on the east side (who, admittedly, probably don't follow zoning issues nearly as wonkishly as some of us do) would be soft supporters if for no other reason than it adds some much-needed dining diversity to that area.

RandomThoughts said...

I'm glad you have covered the possibilities and have real, well-thought-out reasons for this campaign of support. Good for you and may the power be with you!

hillary said...

Seriously. There are some tasty things to eat on the eastside, but no real Latin options.

Another question: how did y'all get Dodson to respond to you?

Publius said...

I think it was the cape and tights jokes myself. Either that, or (and this is the real reason) he's a dedicated public servant who is internet savvy enough to catch our blog, even though it's new and fairly small.

Or the cape and tights jokes.

Elton, if you're reading this, we kid because we approve.

hillary said...

Either that, or (and this is the real reason) he's a dedicated public servant who is internet savvy enough to catch our blog

Ahem. But not to respond to repeated emails from his constituents? Still not cool.

w-daniel said...

I'm just glad to know that Super-Commish responds to someone. Regardless of the issue or opinions, it's insane (and rude) that a commissioner is as hard to get a response from as Elton. In my opinion, that (no response) will lose votes quicker than an isolated zoning vote.

EltonD said...

Yes, it is rude and insane. I admit that I have at times been inconsistent. I really do respond the same day I get an email the vast majority of the time. However, there have been times(too many of them) where things have not gotten an appropriate response. My transition from civilian to elected has not been without its challenges. While the majority of the M&C is retired, I am a young professional with a three year old. I think that perspective is important to the M&C, but it does not excuse poor communication. I am very sorry for that.
I feel confident I have gotten the wrinkles ironed out over these few months and I hope all of you will not be dissuaded from getting in touch with me if you have been shafted in the past.
I'd like to point out here that I feel this is important enough that I am writing this from Hawaii on vacation (half my family lives here).


hillary said...

Okay. Wow. Big points back and much appreciated.

So, Elton, are most of the people who are actively anti-La Puerta del Sol older?