EDITOR’S DESK: Where credit is due
When City Attorney Chris Melcher was hired in September 2011, Mayor Steve Bach lauded him for a “strong multi-functional law and public policy experience that will allow him to be very successful as city attorney. We look forward to his leadership.”
What was that again? In the wake of the no-solicitation debacle, I think we need some new adjectives. Multi-functional? How about dysfunctional? Leadership? Sure, for going backwards. Of his two no-solicitation ordinances, the downtown zone has been frowned on by a judge, and the amended highways law turned out to be useless because Melcher never bothered to check if West Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street really was part of the federal highway system.
But wait. There's the 20-foot rule. The mayor and attorney were both crowing about it this week, how it will expand from 6 feet the distance panhandlers have to stand from building entrances and its contribution to commerce and safety.
Just one small point: The rule wasn't their idea. As detailed in our Page 1 story this issue, Welling Clark thought of it when he first saw the city code showing the old 6-foot rule and wondered if lengthening it would be better for the community than Melcher's fixation on a downtown zone. Note also that this occurred at a meeting with Westside advocates that the city attorney clearly did not want, and which only happened because two supportive City Councilmembers stepped in.
So it was that Clark, a defense industry engineer and neighborhood volunteer, came up with the one part of law that has passed the muster of a federal district judge. You'd think the mayor, who likes to hand out "Spirit of the Springs" awards for everything under the sun, would already be typing one up for Clark. Instead he OKs a 20-foot rule press release that fails to mention the man who was truly responsible. A dislike for Clark's non-fawning, straight-ahead approach to city affairs? Who knows? But that's OK. I haven't give up on you yet, Mr. Mayor. There's still time to show some class.