EDITOR’S DESK: An ‘emergency’... with forms in triplicate
So here we are, coming into the home stretch on the community centers. What will City Council do? No one wants the centers to close, but this is the year the
revenue-starved city is cutting everything. Is it an “emergency,” as Councilman Paige calls it? Certainly, jobs are at stake and programs are on the line. Residents of all
ages stand to see locked doors instead of the welcoming places they have gone to for playing, socializing, meeting and/or learning.
Faced with such a situation, you would think that city staffers would do back flips at the very least to find in their midst an experienced, upstanding entity that is willing to alleviate even part of their financial burden. That's why I find it puzzling the seemingly callous way the city has been treating Woodmen Valley Chapel. The church has offered (almost literally) salvation for the Westside Community Center, drawing up a detailed plan for retaining strong existing programs while instituting new efforts (without evangelizing) to aid lower-income families. And at no cost to the city.
Sadly, however, city staff has shown an odd sort of disinterest in the Woodmen proposal, forcing the church into a cludgy, lengthy request for proposals format that might have been fine in normal times, but seems ludicrous in the current financial straits, "emergency" or not. Woodmen's plan has been together since January. The city could have said then, OK, let's cut the bureaucracy, get this out in the open and start figuring if it can work with what we have here. Instead, as late as March 17 City Procurement was still insisting on pointless secrecy and giving Woodmen no information. Meanwhile, the RFP calls for any contracted entity to begin services April 1. So even if the city finally OK's its plan, Woodmen will only have about week to prepare. And here's the latest news: District 11 (which gave the city the property last year) plans to pull out the phones, saying they weren't part of the deal. Was the city truly unaware that was coming? What's next for Woodmen? A crown of thorns?