Reply to HT editorial on "bridge builder."
Tom Tryon, Editorial Editor, The Herald-Tribune.
I do not know who is now writing your Venice editorials but I wanted to provide some feedback.
The editorial titled “A bridge-builder in Venice?” has, in my mind, much to commend it. It is clear, thoughtful and essentially positive in tone, if mildly clichéd, “desperately needs administrative leadership.” Actually, interim city manager Dr. Nancy Woodley has done an excellent job, improving staff efficiency and morale, working well with council members and with other jurisdictions. Had she wished to be considered she would have deserved careful consideration.
I believe Isaac Turner has the right personality and experience to be successful in Venice and am very happy to have the opportunity to work with him when he and the City complete negotiations on salary, etc., which, I am sure, will proceed smoothly. I have enjoyed my conversations with him before and after his “ranking” by council as our first choice.
That said, I want to comment that I hope the editorialist will soon spend some time with me and other council members as well as the new city manager and key staff. I think Larry Evans had a good feel for the City, (even when we did not agree-which was not often.)
The council at present is functioning well. There are four or five members, at least, who have agreed on most issues, including several airport decisions. One member who was a negative force in some instances is no longer serving. Of the remainder, the airport discussions sometime bring two members into policy conflict, but the functioning of the council is moving smoothly ahead. Six out of seven, I believe, voted for hiring a new consultant to revise the airport master plan and layout. As I told Mr. Turner, I expect the new report will be evaluated by the council, decisions made, and transmitted to the Federal Aviation Administration, within a year, hopefully by year end.
We have had supermajority decisions or unanimous decisions on important growth issues, e.g., new hotels, purchasing a new park, planning another beach-front park, and much improved relationships with the County on important issues-new services to Casperson Beach are in discussion as are agreements on the new Legacy Park. Cooperation over uses of possible “stimulus” funds is also underway.
I anticipate that the Comprehensive Plan process, now nearing its final review, will protect the nature and charm of Venice for the foreseeable future, allowing sensible growth, encouraging new commercial and industrial development and providing new planning and zoning tools. That too, should be transmitted to the State this year.
As I listened to many citizens during the past election season, I found that the public supported Kit McKeon, a man with impeccable educational, military and business credentials, to strengthen the unity and direction of council and did not feel the council majority was ineffective in communicating with them.
The “Sunshine” suit should be resolved by the end of February, from a legal perspective at least, and already many of the findings are helping people see this in a proper perspective-important--the law must be observed--but the issue has been sensationally overblown and, in the minds of many, of dubious origin.
I believe Isaac Turner will find the reality of Venice to be wonderful, with a well-informed and thoughtful public and council and will not be, in any sense, entering a public policy battleground--just the normal challenges of public administration for which he is well-trained.
Posted By Ed Martin at 6:20 PM in Category:Inside Venice