Tonight’s city council meeting offered a potpourri, or for the word challenged, a collection of different things.
There was information about Montessori bonding, homeless coalition funding, David Duggins’ family ties to the prospective developer of Summit Springs, and firefighter breathing apparatus (apparati?)
Through it all, 2nd district councilman Bob Caesar was dogged about expenditures. How much? For what?
Caesar rigorously chased every spare penny — until my turn came to speak, and I pointed out to him that it has been 418 days since I asked him to produce the financial report for Bicentennial Follies, 2013 Edition.
Way back on January 7, 2014, we asked:
All we really wanted to know is how well those hired-gun Bicentennial books had sold, how many of the 5,000 (!) remained to be sold, and whether Redevelopment’s loan was ever paid back. At the time, we were fairly gripped with mercenary gala nostalgia just thinking about it.
A pile of these books surely still exist, unsold and destined to be dispersed at every glad-handing political photo opportunity between now and the Tricentennial …
Then, after being so talkative about numbers, Caesar suddenly made like the proverbial clam. Did he even remember saying the numbers were “buried in a box” somewhere, and he’d find them?
No, but when I reminded Caesar that 418 days is a long time to be stonewalled, he was ready with an answer.
“You know, I think they’re on-line now.”
“Do you know where? Is there a URL?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you’re not going to get me these numbers, I can file a FOIA request.”
“So, is that what I must do — file a FOIA?”
“You can if you want to.”
How very helpful. Obviously, Caesar isn’t interested in taxpayers knowing how many of those 5,000 books remain unsold and non-glad-handed, or if the redevelopment commission’s loan was paid back. What, didn’t those lavishly illustrated tomes written by an outsider-for-hire sell like veritable hotcakes?
Rewinding to 2011 …
“We feel there won’t be any problem selling it,” Caesar said. “These stories will have flavor to them.”
If they did sell like hot cakes, you’d think Caesar would jump at the chance to prove me wrong.
Was I mistaken in reminding an elected public “servant” that he’d previously promised to get these numbers? Caesar said he would, and he has not. He has no intention of doing it. Yes, I’ll throw a FOIA request in the water and see if anyone else gives a damn.
But really, why must I — or for that matter anyone else — have to go to this much trouble to receive simple, basic information?