Thursday, February 18, 2016

Somebody Other Than Jay Has to Comment on This

      The lack of coherence on the Fairgrounds Arena snack bar is small ball in the scheme of things but major league in it's potential to destroy the roll out of what is for the City a major initiative.
       The costly and controversial facelift is supposed to create a front door to Watertown that provides recreation and culture in an environment  that's enjoyable, safe and doesn't smell like a gym bag.
       The public bickering and indecision between staff and Council has quickly become epic. Unreported aspects of Tuesday's meeting and various quotes, combined with a lack of , dare I day, "vision" on the issue has oozed into the public consciousness and at the water cooler, there is ridicule.
       I didn't agree with every aspect of the design and was unable to prevail on every issue, but I supported the project at my peril as I thought the residents and users would benefit long term.
       Maybe that was wrong and the old Arena was fine, but the new Arena is here and the bickering over chow needs to end.  Staff needs to relent in its stubborn insistence on someone else doing their job. 
       Hate to have to say it here, but the comments are beyond the on-line chattering class. 
        This needs to be settled and the City needs to be able to celebrate it's new facility and make sure it meets the promise and expectations advanced over the past five years.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

You screwed up by not listening to the city residents Jeff. Hence your defeat last November. This should have been a ballot measure and you know it. This disaster will never pay for itself. The taxpayers have reason to be upset. This money pit will be the only thing anyone remembers about your time in office.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps an Advisory Board from those who have so much to say along with experienced people could help overcome all the flaws, mistakes and. Opinions. You are right the needed new building is there let's work together to make things right like concession, scoreboard, dasher boards, bleachers, roof and other things that will have to be dealt with!

Anonymous said...

You sound like you just want to get your own way on this issue and can't let it go. This issue doesn't matter and it sounds like council already made a decision and that decision is to let someone run it as a snack bar, for free if need be and wait to see if there is demand for more.

If you are worried about first impressions in the city of Watertown, a snack bar at the hockey arena is the least of your problems. For instance, my first night in Watertown got be a parking ticket on the north side, for parking on the wrong side of the road. There was no snow and I didn't park until 4 in the morning. I was not impressed.

Or how about this: You call for an elected city executive, but the unelected DANC is about to join forces with the unelected Watertown housing authority, and refurbish old houses instead of selling them at tax auction. Which brings up several points, how many unelected bodies are listed on the city website? From ZBA positions, to planning board, to housing authority etc.? And more importantly, the money you get from tax sales is not low because the house hasn't been fixed up, its low because auctions do not bring top dollar for anything. Want more money? List them with an agent or put them on ebay where there is more than 60 seconds to decide if you want to increase your bid and the audience is potentially tens of thousands instead of a handful of auction chasers. And last but not least, the labor, salaries and befits that go to the employees of DANC and the housing authority, will not be made up for, by any increase you get from property sales

Anonymous said...

The Arena was one reason, and Demar was the other, but you got set up on that one. Oh and you looked old too.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with the revisionist BS about why Graham lost. He lost because he got fewer votes than the republican supported candidate did. He barely beat Smith in the previous election and all it took was someone less hated than Smith and that wasn't hard to do. Before that he got defeated by Butler's father. To sum it up, Graham lost because the city is full of stupid people. Not because of the Arena and not because of his health insurance and not because of DeMar...just because there are more stupid voters in the city than smart ones.

Anonymous said...

Since the dawn of civilization, communities have been providing venues for entertainment. Plays , sporting events, punishment, etc were all held in public forums. Now days most people rally around their TV's, so the dynamic has changed, and group locations are generally losers.
In the instant case, the city will be better off to just put in some vending machines and see what happens. If the arena gets heavy draws on a repetitive basis, then a business person might step up. Conversely if it turns out to be little more than a transient hockey rink with a home show now and again, then there are plenty of restaurants around where people can consume before or after their two hours of "entertainment".

Anonymous said...

It is backlash for the city doing a project the taxpayers did NOT want but council ignored the public like normal and now there will be bickering on the little items, Another issue is the arrogant attitude the Parks and Rec director has when talking to the public, it is not helping the city at all.
I agree that the project is nearing completion and we have to make the best of it however don't expect things to be all flowers and sunshine because the public is not happy with the decisions made and the last election confirmed that, and I expect the next one will as well, especially if there is not a change in the way things are being done and ignoring the taxpayers wishes.
Since Addison has came into town, it seems everything is a fight and she has no connection to the people and she has no ties to this city since she does not even live in the city. If the new council wants change I think its time they start looking at replacing some people on the managerial level in the city and start fresh.

Danny M. Francis (Eyepublius) said...

Wow - talk about heat seeking missiles and flak (plus flack) double wow.

As I have said a few times, the November election was supposed to be about change; okay, so what kind did we get? Seems on this snack bar/service issue we simply moved chairs from the under water side of the Titanic to the dry side that has lasted what a month or so?

So, man the lifeboats and get new smart people on board and in office who can lead and manage this city and projects and not just people who say they can or will or are and end up 180° opposite.

Maybe start with a new City Manager. The name missing in all this is cooperative leadership - or just plain leadership not 6 voices pulling in 6 different directions ... at least the way I see it.

How about just drop the snack bar option and tell the public to pack a meal or whatever and "come on down." That sounds silly doesn't it? Yeah, and so is this way our city government is seeking a solution to this issue. But silly is the weaker of the words I'd use.

Anonymous said...

Front door to the city... of houses falling apart and run down. Watertown is a shell of its former self. Homeowners do so at their own financial peril both from rising, absurd taxes and erosion of value from zombie houses.

As for Parks and Rec girl - she rules the world!!!

Anonymous said...

Why not let Councilwoman McAlooso run it? She had the Brewhaha so must be experienced. Good way to tune up with the public's feelings too.

Anonymous said...

Wah, wah, wah 808A.

Gotta love your lack of logic. Jeff lost because the voters came out to send a message. The message was that the status quo would no longer be tolerated.
Quit whining and deal with it! We the voting majority, fully accept the fallout.

Anonymous said...

It seems the only elected official interested in solving the issue is Mr. Horbacz. I find it very disturbing that the rest of the council & city Admin made light of situation and do not take it seriously.
My advice to Cody: if the city manager and council are against you, then you are probably doing something right. The public will support a leader.

Anonymous said...

Dan we got big change! People who are without something. Without a grip, care, and or a plan. Two people who had all of that had to hit the road. That's what it is.

Anonymous said...

The arena is just one problem in this town. I watched the City Council meeting this week and was very surprised to hear the reviews for both the City Manager and Clerk. Who writes these things, themselves? The CM is the worst that I have seen in my over 50 years of living here. She is vindictive, and does not have a clue how to do her job. Her incompetence is so obvious to everyone except our council. She should never have been hired let alone praised for her mismanagement. Can't wait for her to get a big raise too.

I also knew Ms. Dutton (Former Clerk) both professionally and personally and she was a wonderful and dedicated clerk. This new person is hardly able to fill her shoes. I had to wait almost 25 minutes the last time I was there because of such a back log of customers. The girls that work the counter were trying to get through everyone as quickly as possible but just couldn't keep up. The "clerk" never left her office and appeared to be engaged in a personal conversation on her cell phone. She never came out to help or even seemed interested in what was happening.. This would never have happened with Ms. Dutton. This shows a total disrespect for her staff and the customers. I felt so sorry for those poor girls who were trying to get through the backlog and a few people made rude comments. What has happened to our city? The arena is the least of our worries. Lets get some administrators that actually care.

Anonymous said...

9:52AM Danny, go back to your trench, you were able to retire to early. No one is interested in hearing your blather unless y ou wish to address when Impeached Bill Clinto gave the NK schematics for nukes. I thought you would be most interested on that issue since you may have served there and how percarious the relatonship is between the North & South.

The Mad Man Kim, Jr. just executed his 1st command last week. Doesn't seem to warrant an utterance from you that SK could be wiped off the face of the earth if Little Mad Kim awakens one day and decides to push a button cause his food didn't come out at the correct temperature.

Anonymous said...

The FACTS ARE CLEAR, anyone in office who make decisions that adversely affect the taxpayers will not be in office long. CITY RESIDENTS did not want this 10 million plus arena, but the sitting council ignored their wishes and went ahead with this overpriced arena city residents will be paying for for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

So yet another flaw in the design....snow slid off the roof and bent and broke ventilation pipes. Wasn't anything learned from flaws with the previous Arena? Add this to the growing list of flaws! Can't believe no one is concerned!

Anonymous said...

Gardner already is calling this small potatoes. Maybe she can make some french fries. Sharon has already lowered salaries for lack of experience, let us see if she lowers her buddies.

Anonymous said...


I totally agree 233. Cody is the only one that seems to have grip on the issues. Why the city can not run the concession themselves is beyond me. That way they would know exactly what equipment to buy and can create a track record of sales that may create some interest in the concessions for the future. Just looks like the parks and recreation director doesn't want the extra work. No one is going to bid on an empty space and without any idea about potential sales. When will the taxpayer come first?? All of this money spent and no concessions? What other obvious flaws have happened that they are hiding from us?

Anonymous said...

Mark my words, there are many flaws and problems that will show themselves in the coming years, this arena is far from done costing us taxpayers money. Poor design, poor planning, poor decisions

Anonymous said...

Love the Headline on this Jeff but I can tell you this, a LOT of people other than Jay have commented on this!

Anonymous said...

You truly are a clown #405. Do you have a clue what blog you're on?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ms. Addison will be cutting any salaries at the police department?

Anonymous said...

Hey 218 @ 324.......The Clerk was the choice of the CM and the Council, she had no experience in that arena,she worked in a Dr.'s office and was not the choice of the former Clerk, but she was well-connected.......

Anonymous said...

Addison already cut a deal with PD.

Anonymous said...


1009. What? She worked in a doctors office? How does someone like that get such an important public position without any real experience? Wouldn't some sort of government experience be a requirement? Also, are you telling me that we had no one in the current city stock who could have done this job. The City apparently prefers to go outside for some reason. If the former Clerk did not want her how did she get the job? Isn't it the Clerk who makes that decision, or at least has some input? Who does she know? (Sorry I am not better informed).

Council is apparently 2 for 2. First a CM with no experience and who didn't meet the minimum qualification to even apply let alone get the job. Now a Clerk too? Guess all it takes to get a cushy, high-paying government job in this town is friends in the right places. When will this public corruption stop? I am so sick of paying people ridiculous money to NOT do their jobs. Hope the new council can get this under control.

Anonymous said...

Word is the CM is the sister of the current mayors golf partner.

Anonymous said...


So, you can get a high-paying job if you have a relative that golfs with the Mayor? Maybe it is time to learn how to golf. What ever happened to getting the best person? Favoritism rarely benefits the tax payer.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you were instrumental in hiring CM, weren't you? Can't you fill in some of the blanks here, or is it all in the past now?

Anonymous said...

Boy the firequeens hate the CM and for some reason now the City Clerk. Don't you guys have anything better to do? Oh right, you don't.

Anonymous said...

Hey 428 true dat............