As part of Small Business Saturday (Nfld Patch article), I stopped by Present Perfect Underground yesterday. The shop ("vintage stuff, antiques, furniture, old buttons" says the sign) is located in the lower level of 310 Division St., underneath the Fine Craft Collective.
Ed Kuhlman and Mary Rossing were the beauties on duty, but other proprietors are Barb Kuhlman, Tom Buettell, Pam Curry, Jessica Paxton, Jen Severtsgaard, and Mary Titus.
On a number of occasions during my tenure as Mayor I have felt the need to address the Council publicly, and to remind my colleagues that in order to be be effective in our jobs it is important that we maintain a level of protocol and respect in our deliberations. This is expressed in how we speak to each other, to the public or to our City Staff. In recent weeks I have personally observed, and have had it pointed out to me by various members of our community that it appears that it has become acceptable for staff to be discredited and put down in public.
That is not right and it should not be acceptable in these Chambers. That is not to say that we must agree with staff opinions or with their recommendations or that we cannot question the basis for such opinions. But when they speak from their position as professionals, they must be respected.
Councilors Kris Vohs and Rhonda Pownell are quoted in the article as also being unhappy with the tenor at times at meetings and elsewhere. No word from the others:
Councilors Betsey Buckheit and Suzie Nakasian declined to comment for this story. Councilors Patrick Ganey and Erica Zweifel could not be reached for comment.
Since I’m someone often accused of having a bug up his ass about the importance of civility in conversations, I’m interested in this issue. But neither the article nor Rossing’s statement mention any specifics, so it’s hard to know what’s going on. Sometimes when people are critical of others, that’s seen as automatic disrespect, whereas I believe that public criticism can be done in a way that’s respectful.
Can anyone who’s been at Council meetings lately or who has watched the proceedings via cable TV or live streaming cite some interactions that might be examples of disrespect towards city staff by councilors?
Robbie and I had dinner last night at The Ole Store Restaurant, newly reopened this week. As you can tell from the thumbs-up and smiles, patrons are liking it. L to R above: Marin Amundson-Graham, Dana Graham, and sons; Steve Hartke and daughter Madelyn Hartke (celebrating Madelyn’s 21st birthday); Mary Rossing and Linda Schneewind; me and my sweetie.
Chris Basina is the Executive Chef and his wife Sirie Basina was our waitperson (center photo above). I’m no restaurant critic so let’s just say that Robbie and I were blown away by the quality of the food and the service. Chris and Sirie were delightful, as was manager Deanna Sharp (not pictured).
The interior has been revamped and spiffed up a bit. It’s quite classy. The dinner menu? Wow.
The answer was that there was no charge for the space and the rules were pretty informal — an honor system of sorts. You just needed to let them know when you would put the sign up and how long you needed the space. It was understood that you’d secure it safely and take the sign down right after the event. It was also understood that the space was for community events like the hospital book fair and not private business advertising.
Looks like one business is advertising, not that I’m objecting.
The Mayor’s Streetscape Taskforce will be meeting again, with new and returning members in the mix, mid June. This is one of their charges. A permanent kiosk has been talked about as we continue to work to add amenities to the downtown and gateway areas. They will be looking at many potential projects and prioritizing and making recommendations to the council. All projects need to be in place (or in progress) by the end of 2013 as this is the end of the master development funds.
So if this was one of the charges for the Streetscape Taskforce two years ago, can someone update us on what was decided, if anything?
In her letter (PDF) emailed to me (and I assume others in the local media) she doesn’t explain the reason for the closing, other than to say "I have decided that it is time to spread my wings." As for Coldwell, she writes:
This means that where there was just one person standing behind a counter, thirteen local agents will now be working out of this space in downtown Northfield. Thirteen people will be bringing in clients, buying coffee and lunch in the downtown, and adding to the vitality of Division Street.
For several months I’ve seen a section of the liquor store’s south side wall crack, buckle and come apart, leaving a hole I could fit both fists into with room to spare. I’ve wondered how long the city planned to let moisture impact a building that’s already in poor condition.
Two months later, the hole is still there (right under the display window on the sidewalk), getting bigger, letting in rain water, and prominently countering the Mayor’s promise to do better at the very time that the City ramps up its pitch to the citizens on the need for new police and fire facilities.
There are a couple minutes of dead air at the beginning, plus the approval of minutes etc. so her opening remarks don’t begin till the 3:45 minute mark. If you’re in a hurry, here’s an audio excerpt. (Click play to listen. 5 minutes.)