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Reader 2 cent Jack wrote:
While I agree Old Man Sanders has a few too many politicos in his nest, I don’t buy Waring’s post hoc rationalization that he quit because he suddenly wouldn’t be able to accomplish his noble goals. Waring took to political back room dealing like a duck to water. He was the consummate deal broker. Rob Peter, pay Paul, and do so because you think you know what’s best. Sorry Jimbo, you gotta respect process, you gotta respect the public, and you gotta keep your nose a whole lot cleaner than you did. Welcome back to the public sector.
2 cent I want to respond to your posting because it reflects a common criticism and references the “back room.” One of the great things about my job, ironically, was that I could not “make a deal” on the vast, vast majority of issues. It was both challenging and enjoyable to try and understand complex issues involving city property or city action, and to work on hopefully negotiating positive outcomes.
But keep in mind that almost all the items we worked on required a public hearing and council action, which is a good thing. I never thought I had, nor wanted, the authority to bind the city. No individual should have that authority.
While I was labeled as the developer’s friend, I think if you look at the record there were many, and possibly more significant, times when we were in opposition to the real estate industry. The downtown FAR fee of $15 per square foot, which directly impacted land values, and the condo conversion ordinance, for which we fought hard in the face of vigorous industry opposition, are examples.
What I did feel strongly about was that it was our job to get issues or projects in front of decision makers as quickly as the system permits. I do not believe any community interest, regardless of the “side” someone is on is served by avoiding the making of a decision, no matter how difficult that decision might be.
I saw it as my job to negotiate and/or organize, depending on the issue, as best we could on an issue and then present the issue for public discussion and council action. This process is the part of politics I looked forward to in the job — balancing of competing interests and trying to build a consensus around ideas or actions. Sometimes there was council support and sometimes there wasn’t. I believe that for the system, the process is as important as the outcome.
— JIM WARING