Money, TIF, Beer, Bikes, and Eschliman

March 26, 2008 at 1:17pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Deena Winter’s column this week touches on all sorts of topics. It’s a good read.

  • First up, Ms. Winter notes Mayor Beutler’s $1.615 million in unfunded commitments. Mayor Beutler says he’s short on cash because the budget is so lean. That sounds like a perfect excuse to not spend cash we don’t have, but that’s not how these things seem to work. Mayor Beutler has proposed an “economic opportunity fund” for the sorts of wants he can’t currently afford. It would allow the funding of “high-priority projects” in a “timely manner”. That sounds a lot like an “I’ll do whatever I want with it” fund with very little public or City Council oversight. Sorry, Mayor, but I’ll pass.
  • Next, City Councilman Jon Camp thinks we might be TIFing too much. I don’t know if we are or not, mainly because budgets aren’t my strong suit. But I do know that plenty of people have been complaining about overTIFification for a couple years. I wouldn’t mind hearing more community dialog about TIF.
  • Third, Ms. Winter raises the question of whether we should allow alcohol sales in our (hypothetical) new arena. I say, “Heck yeah!” Darn tootin’ I want the beer-drinkin’ crowd to subsidize my arena-going experience. If Dr. Tom says the Huskers won’t play if alcohol is on the premises, fine; just lock up the kegs (and cover up the advertisements) when the Big Red are in the house. But to bar alcohol sales altogether will just make the going even tougher for Nelnet Events Center.
  • The bike lanes are working? I wonder what the Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Committee’s definition of “working” is. I suppose they aren’t not working. That’s something. Still, can we really call the lanes a success? If we’re going to spend money on biking, I would very strongly prefer that money be spent on improving Lincoln’s trail system. The Downtown bike lanes feel like little more than a political statement, rather than a transportation revolution.
  • Bless Robin Eschliman’s heart. She tries so hard, and she’s so passionate. But every time she speaks up I get the urge to point and giggle. To wit, her rationale for opposing a charter amendment to prevent certain government officials from holding contracts with the City: “Should we have a charter amendment that says no mayor should live in a neighborhood because that constitutes a conflict of interest?” And: “I had a conflict of interest when I voted on LES rates. I get a bill from them every single month!” I wonder if she really doesn’t understand the distinctions between her analogies and the situation at hand? Opponents of the contract ban are going to have to find a much better spokesperson if the issue makes it to the ballot this fall.

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The Comments

beerorkid March 26, 2008 at 2:23pm

After seeing the no alcohol in the arena headline I was reminded of the red state mindset of this town.

On the bike lanes:  I had mixed feelings about them, and still do.  But I have started using them regularly and according to the study, others are using them as well.  If nothing else the M&N;lanes would help keep bike traffic to those streets that have the lanes and out of the other streets.

As far as our trail system, it is amazing actually.  Of course any additions would be welcome, but I would rather see more attention paid to making biking safer for commuters who do not have the pleasure of using the trail system because of their commute routes.

Mr. Wilson March 26, 2008 at 2:45pm

Pst, beerorkid, your site is a’splodin’. Did you forget to feed the server squirrels this morning?

Fletch March 26, 2008 at 2:48pm

Perhaps by “working”, they mean that thus far, no one’s been killed while riding down the middle of a busy downtown street that’s also frequented by buses.

I like Deena’s columns for the most part. Today’s was very good.

I concur about Robin. She’d be much better if she’d remember that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth and they should be used in that proportion. I think she mostly votes in alignment with my way of thinking, but I cringe when she opens her pie hole.

I absolutely concur that alcohol should be part of the new arena. I don’t drink a lot, and don’t rely on it, but it’s a crowd pleaser and a money generator. I have no qualms about shutting the beer down and covering signs for all Husker events, high school events, the circus, etc. However, fully banning it will hurt crowds.

beerorkid March 26, 2008 at 3:11pm

Yeah that was fun.  At least my hosting fee is not much.

Dave K March 26, 2008 at 10:46pm

“After seeing the no alcohol in the arena headline I was reminded of the red state mindset of this town.”

Uhhh ... yeah, me too.

beerorkid March 26, 2008 at 10:58pm

Good to see you have finally come around Dave.

hbrogan57 March 27, 2008 at 10:48am

Is there a web site for the Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Committee??  I have looked but have not been able to find anything.

Those “bike lanes” are nothing more than a “band-aid” fix.  They are a joke and should be redesigned.  Here’s an idea…how about putting them on a street where the busses DON’T run??  12th would be a good choice.

Almost everyone that I have talked to has had negative comments about them.  The best thing I have heard has been…“well, at least there ARE bike lanes.”  IMHO they are a political statement.

I would be willing to bet that there was very little input from anyone that rides regularly.

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