Thursday, September 04, 2003

Majnun tonight

Want to know more about "the Sufis"? You can hear their band Majnun perform at the CD Release Party for their CD of the same name, at Hangar 9 tonight, about 9. Bring $3 for the cover, and your dancing shoes.

Spokes persons

After a lengthy discussions with just about everyone in town who rides a bicycle except for Time Lloyd and the guy who rides the three-wheeler everywhere, it looks like "Bike to Work Day" will be on Oct. 8. Many businesses have said they will donate items and coupons for a big drawing, and Mayor Brad Cole said he might provide a box lunch at City Hall during the lunch hour, depending on the number of people involved. A man of action, the mayor said he would himself ride a bike to work that day--and he doesn't even own one! But with three bicycle shops a stone's throw from his office, it shouldn't be hard for him to find a suitable ride. I don't think they sell training wheels for bicycles his size, though. ;-)

Meanwhile, businesses up and down the strip--and beyond--have been donating valuable things for a drawing to be held that very day. Who knows? You might ride home with a new helmet, or a throw rug. Thinking about it further, there should probably be special prize for the person who rides the longest distance (Kyle Harfst lives in Carterville!). A tube of Ben-Gay maybe.

My conversation with the City Manager

First of all, Jeff Doherty, owns a bicycle and goes riding out on the country roads south and west of town, so he's all for Bike to Work Day. Secondly, he plays more golf (once a week, instead of once a month) now that Brad Cole is mayor. "I still work 10-12 hour days, though," he says. Yesterday, he gave me one of those hours to explain such things as the new TIF District (which still none of the local newspapers have written about. Last week the City placed a classified ad in the Southern Illinoisan calling for development proposals. (I wonder if Meta Minton, editor of the SI, reads the classifieds.) Apparently, the TIF isn't a "done deal" yet. There are still several major steps that must occur, including a public meeting, so eventually, all the papers will catch up.

Another thing we talked about, the "Million Dollar Tables," made the manager a little defensive, insisting that $1 million is reasonable amount of insurance to cover private encroachment on public use area (tables in front of Longbranch). In fact, he said, $2 million might be a better amount to require.

My own point was that sitting at a table drinking coffee is not as risky as walking down the same sidewalk, where you might trip. If you are just sitting there, how much risk could there be? Something could drop from the window of the Rolf practitioner's office on the second floor, maybe if a session got a little rough a client could fly out the window ;-). I have an appointment with an insurance specialist to explain it all. I wonder how much insurance The City requires for Pig Out, where alcohol is served and many people are gathered, if it requires one million for two people to sit quietly at a table.

Let's see, what else did we talk about? The Home Ownership Program that he and Brad Cole put together in order to stimulate construction of more affordable nice homes in the City.

Speaking of HOP:

Educating Sheila

One of this blog's readers, Councilwoman and bicyclist, Sheila Simon, was the sole vote cast against HOP at Tuesday night's meeting. Not necessarily because she opposed it, as she explains:

Hey David – you missed some fun. I would call it Sheila learns about City Council, lesson 4 (or so).

Here’s what I learned. Despite the reputation of governments as being slow moving, this one moved way too fast for me last night. City Council members receive an agenda on Friday evenings, and last Friday was the first time I learned about this home ownership plan. Since this particular plan was drafted only recently, my guess is that the other council members heard about it first on Friday as well. I think the idea is worth consideration, and I tried to slow it down to get more information for myself and more input from the community. But everybody else was ready to get this done quickly. My conclusion is that I need to find ways to get fast input from folks the next time an important measure is brought up with little notice. One way to do that might be to tap into the Dispatch here, so stay tuned.

Southern exposure

Coverage of Carbondale news and business by The Southern Illinoisan has lapsed considerably since ace reporter Linda Rush was assigned to temporary duty as night copy editor several months ago. Currently the paper has no City Editor or Assistant City Editor! Yo, Meta, I'm available!