Debate reveals tension about east side growth

first_img Pinterest Church leaders condemn mayor’s disparaging comments Previous articleOdessa to become a TEDx siteNext articleELDER: Instead of ‘Infrastructure Investment,’ How About Killing Davis-Bacon? admin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By admin – January 11, 2018 Local NewsGovernment Debate reveals tension about east side growth Landgraf prepares for state budget debate Pinterest Twitter Construction proceeds on the downtown hotel and convention center Wednesday after a heated debate at Tuesday’s city council meeting became a focal point between investor Sondra Eoff and city councilman Malcom Hamilton, which was supposed to be a discussion about the “pros and cons of single-member district representation, at-large representation, and strong mayor representation.” Facebookcenter_img WhatsApp Twitter WhatsApp Home Local News Government Debate reveals tension about east side growth Odessa’s District 5 City Councilman Filiberto Gonzales said his opposition to a proposal to restructure the City Council is really not about civil rights for him. Gonzales also said he does not see the changes as a way of weakening Hispanic voting strength for positions on a board he argues does not make racially polarized decisions.“To me this is about power — this is about power” Gonzales said in an interview after the meeting, adding “I have never used the word racism, discrimination. At the end of the day I want to make sure that we go with facts. I want to go do what’s right for the city of Odessa.”It was a significant acknowledgement that came less than a week after Gonzales lent his support to a group opposing the proposed changes that said the restructuring would illegally discriminate against Odessa minorities by diluting their votes. If voters approved the changes, an attempt to block them from taking effect could hinge on that being true.But Gonzales’ comments also framed the full council’s discussion of the restructuring proposal on Tuesday — a more than 45 minute debate on Odessa development, focusing on the east side of town that opponents of the proposed council restructuring say the changes would favor.The meeting Tuesday at times became contentious, with council members and citizen speakers talking over each other.Three members of the City Council — Gonzales, District 3 Councilwoman Barbara Graff and District 1 Councilman Malcolm Hamilton — combined last month to deny a May election so voters can decide on the restructuring proposal that would add a new council position elected by voters city wide and give the mayor a vote. Graff had argued the changes would be discriminatory, and so did Hamilton, who also said they are “evil” and “racist.”But Gonzales said his concern is not that the at-large positions would disadvantage Hispanics — it’s what he said is a wealth gap in the eastern part of town and other parts of the city, combined with a greater amount of registered voters in east-side District 2.“I don’t see it as a racially motivated agenda for anybody,” Gonzales said.In any case, the denial prompted a petition drive that is underway to force an election.On Tuesday, the entire City Council had been scheduled to discuss “pros and cons of single-member district representation, at-large representation, and strong mayor representation.” But they barely did so.Hamilton at point engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Sondra Eoff, who with her husband is investing about $50 million in the city-supported downtown hotel and conference center, as she tried to make the case for her support of the council restructuring proposal. She was also arguing that east Odessa, where she lives, is part of the city where the City Council should support development.Hamilton questioned her altruism in pursuing the multimillion facility in his district, which city officials sought as a way to kick off a broader redevelopment of the long blighted area.“You are doing it for your own benefit as private business, let’s be clear about that,” Hamilton said.Eoff said called the remark “unbelievable and ungrateful,” said Hamilton had “done nothing to help us in this project.”She said she wanted to help south Odessa, where she used to live. And Eoff, who is Hispanic, said efforts to paint the restructuring proposal as driven by racial prejudice as offensive to her.“To say that everyone in District 2 is rich and powerful and doesn’t care about the rest of Odessa, I take offense to,” Eoff said.Often confusion and inaccuracy reigned, as the City Council revisited a controversial decision in May to deny incentives for an oilfield equipment supplier, Weir Oil and Gas, that eventually abandoned plans to build a $25 million facility in Odessa in favor of Midland. Graff said the Weir vote by her, Hamilton and Gonzales was the impetus for the restructuring plan.“There was no plot with this,” Graff said, before claiming incorrectly that plans had once called for developing the building in Ector County, instead of a portion of Odessa in Midland County. And she again aired suspicions about multiple entities being involved in a commercial real estate deal, which is not uncommon.At another point, Gonzales and Hamilton argued that Odessa does not benefit from the businesses and neighborhoods built in Odessa over the Midland County line.Gonzales asserted, incorrectly, that homes and businesses past the county line do not pay property taxes (later he said in an interview that “not all do,” an apparent reference to tax abatements the council sometimes awards to major projects). He and Hamilton also said that city pays for infrastructure costs such as utilities and roads that developers almost always pay.District 4 Councilman Mike Gardner and District 2 Councilman Dewey Bryant had pushed back on the arguments against supporting development in the portion of Odessa in Midland County, saying the city still collects sales and property taxes, while benefitting from any jobs created by businesses. The councilmen, and Mayor David Turner, had said developers are guided by business decisions and available land.“If we are going to grow Odessa, you can’t make a developer grow it where you want him to grow it,” Gardner told Hamilton at one point.Bryant and Gardner support the proposed council changes.Fellow supporters of the council restructuring argue the change would mean more council members would be accountable to Odessa voters, and that power should not be concentrated in the hands of just five people representing single districts, often with little to no voter input.But an attorney for a group formed to oppose the special election, Odessa Together, had described the proposal as “intentional discrimination in order to disenfranchise Latinos and African Americans in Odessa in order to empower a group that has, even though they are minority in population, they are still a majority of the voting bloc.”The attorney, Domingo Garcia, a former Dallas politician who specializes in personal injury law and was proactive in the political fight to create single-member districts in Dallas in the early 1990s, had also threatened to sue individual organizers of a petition drive.But Gonzales also distanced himself from the threat Tuesday, telling reporters that he would not be a part of any lawsuit. He said he wants to instead keep bringing up the proposed changes at the regular council meetings twice a month.In the instances when council members discussed the proposed restructuring, it was in general. Graff, for example, had argued single-member districts were more effective because “we are different” so representing the smaller area better serves constituents than at-large representation would.She and Gonzales had said the city may need to add more single-member districts but should wait until after the next census in 2020.“If you don’t like what’s going on right now: Well next year, there’s an election,” she said. Landgraf staffer resigns following investigation Facebook Upside Down Blueberry Pie CheesecakeTexas Fried ChickenFruit Salad to Die ForPowered By 10 Sec Mama’s Deviled Eggs NextStay last_img read more

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A TOUGH ILLNESS THAT REQUIRES TOUGH MEDICINE By Jim Redwine

first_img GAVEL GAMUT By Jim RedwineWeek of March19, 2018A TOUGH ILLNESS THAT REQUIRES TOUGH MEDICINESome medical conditions, say the flu, can be diagnosed and easily cured. Of course, if the flu is actually pneumonia the patient may not fare so well. Some medical conditions even if correctly identified may not be easily treated, certain cancers for example. And some cancers even if properly addressed may metamorphosize into others that are fatal.In our Body Politic a serious condition we must either deal with or be permanently affected by is our Child In Need of Services problem. And even if we do not ignore it, a potentially fatal mistake, the cures we apply will be unavoidably complicated and expensive. Of course, to ignore a cancer is to court our own demise.In this frenetic world of crisis-a-minute news and infuriatingly complex day-to-day existence, we just do not have the time or energy or money to be aware of and address all the problems that may seriously affect us. So we can be forgiven if we would prefer to ignore the extremely complex problems of child and family welfare, especially other people’s children and families.But just as a spot on the skin may be the harbinger of disaster if ignored, if we do not attempt to help an abused or neglected child now, that child or that family may cause all of us harm later. And that harm may be a great deal more difficult and expensive than it would cost to prevent it now.The complexity of our child welfare problem is highlighted by the Indiana Legislature’s scattergun reaction to the criticism of the former State Director of the Department of Family and Child Services who resigned in despair. Just in this year’s session of the General Assembly, fourteen bills concerning DCS matters were introduced. This is a positive sign but just as “all politics is local” we in Posey County, Indiana, just as each of Indiana’s other 91 counties, must take some responsibility for our own situation.In each county, the general needs may be similar but specific needs may call for different approaches. Any solution should include numerous institutions such as the Department of Child Services, the schools, all police agencies, the County Council and Board of Commissioners, the Prosecutor’s office, the medical and mental health agencies and the courts. Of course, the most important constituency in this integrated approach must be the public along with the news media.As I indicated last week I have plenty to do just in the Posey Circuit Court so that’s where I’ll concentrate next week as we work together to craft a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating our Child In Need of Services situation in Posey County.For more Gavel Gamut articles go to www.jamesmredwine.comFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Men’s water polo to face Stanford on the road

first_imgJunior driver Marin Dasic has scored 21 goals this season after scoring 29 last season. He earned NCAA All-Tournament team and All-MPSF Honorable Mention as a freshman. (Josh Dunst | Daily Trojan)After a sweep of all five matchups last weekend, No. 1 USC looks to boost its record to 18-0 as it travels to Palo Alto to face No. 3 Stanford on Saturday.Sophomore drivers Marco Vavic and Jacob Mercep lead the team in scoring with 39 and 31 goals, respectively. Freshman goalies Nic Porter and Sam Krutong anchor the defense with 50 and 47 saves, respectively.The Cardinal enter the game also undefeated with an 8-0 record, their best start to the season since 2015. Five of those victories have been over nationally-ranked teams, making them USC’s highest-ranked opponent so far in 2018. The Trojans have won eight straight games over Stanford.“It’ll be a bit of a daunting experience for some of the new guys on the team,” Porter said. “It’s going to be very exciting for us and we’ll do our best to make sure that … the younger guys are more than up to the task. We’ll get a win on the road.”After heavy conditioning last week in training for a five-game weekend, head coach Jovan Vavic has been focusing on tactical work to prepare for the Stanford match.The Trojans are looking to continue to work on building a cohesive dynamic on Saturday, a priority this season given so many young players on the roster. “We’re coming up against a strong group of players at Stanford, and we’re going to have to match that and be better,” Porter said. “There’s not really one thing in particular we’re looking to work on. [We’re] just trying to sort out every aspect of our game as a team and do everything we can to get that win.”Stanford junior driver Bennett Williams and sophomore driver Tyler Abramson with 25 and 24 goals, respectively, lead the Cardinal’s offense. Williams has scored in all eight matches this season, scoring multiple points in six of those games. Redshirt senior goalie Oliver Lewis mans the posts, averaging 12.5 saves and 4.7 goals against per game.  The game holds special meaning for sophomore transfer driver Sawyer Rhodes, who played for Stanford last season and has scored 9 goals in six games as a Trojan. “I mean there’s a lot of emotions,” Rhodes said. “It’ll be my first time back on campus at Stanford, so I’m really excited. [I’m as] nervous as I am before any big game, so I think that’s good. This is what we’ve been training hard for, and we’ve played 17 games but haven’t had a challenge yet. So this will be our first one so we’ll see how good we really are.”Rhodes scored 23 goals as a true freshman at Stanford last year, one of which came against USC in the pool that is now his home. On Sunday, the Trojans return to Uytengsu Aquatics Center for a matchup against No. 16 San Jose State at noon. San Jose State enters the matchup with a 4-4 record after losing to Stanford 16-3 last week. Mercep, who played for San Jose State last season was a scoring powerhouse with 93 goals for the Spartans last season. The loss of Mercep will be a hit to the Spartans, who are now led by top scorer sophomore Justin Pickering’s 13 goals and freshman goalie Yahav Fire’s 9.2 saves-per-game average. USC has won six straight matchups against San Jose State. The Stanford game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Bay Area and will also be streamed online.last_img read more

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