Day 119: It's Time Savannah
AOL features a recap of the news today in which they briefly spotlight the Things You Need to Know In Five Minutes:
A teenaged boy has been pulled from the rubble five days after the earthquake in Nepal, covered in dust and weak, but alive; a large group of women and children were rescued from Boko Haram in Nigeria; Sofia Vergara's ex-fiance has sued the "Modern Family" star to protect two frozen embryos; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has entered the Democratic race for President; and 10 militants were sentenced to life in prison for their attack on Nobel Laureate Malaka Yousafzai.
Wait: what was that third thing?
And in asking this question, it reminds me of reading What You Need to Know About Savannah in today's edition of the Savannah Moanin' News: in an article entitled "Savannah City Council Considering Sale of Property at $200,000 Loss," author Eric Curl drives by a list of interesting facts:
The City of Savannah bought a parcel of land in 2007 from the Friedman family in order to build a new fire station to serve The Highlands and Godley Station communities. We paid top dollar-- $545,000 top dollars-- for the property right before the market collapsed.
The location was subsequently placed in a flood zone rendering it unfit for a public safety facility.
The Friedman family-- who still own surrounding properties-- has offered to buy back the land for $195,000 less than they were paid for it so that they can now develop a business park.
Meanwhile, the City is looking for a more suitable site, providing it has the resources to purchase it.
At the very bottom of this article there is a postscript: "The City is also making plans to build a station on Hutchison Island to prepare for pending development there. In February, the council awarded a $337,765 design contract for the project to Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung."
Wait: what was that second, third, fourth and fifth thing?
Clearly, what we have here is another classic example of the way that our tax dollars are squandered through an elaborate scheme of poor real estate investments, total lack of planning, and payoffs to friends of council. The offenses have become so numerous and blatant that no one downtown makes any effort to conceal them anymore. And from the general lack of interest in this election year indicated by several aldermen going unchallenged thus far, council is under the mistaken impression that no one cares what they do with our money.
The time has come to put an end to the looting of the public treasury by a council gone wild. The time has come for a new administration to conduct a line by line audit of every department and every deal, to employ a new system of checks and balances, and to prohibit firms that win contracts with the City from donating to the political campaigns of its employers. There isn't a single instance of a construction project of the past ten years that is free from conflict of interest, cronyism, incompetence and corruption, from the Waters Avenue shopping center to the WW Law project to the pharmacy on MLK to the Cultural Arts Center to River Landing, to Ellis Square and on and on and on. The time has come to usher in a new era of transparency and accountability.