Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Allied Powers

JoeVan Bullard resigns as Urban Renewal Director. Well, this was probably coming, with all of the heat OCURA has been under.

But it seems like that was rather anti-climatic. At any rate, everything that follows is incredibly confusing. We've been operating with OCURA for many decades now. First OCURA was powerful and all of downtown development revolved around it, and since it's become less omnipotent and more of an agent that the city can use to encourage more private development in an area.

Now here's a curve ball. Larry Nichols is back as Chairman. If you recall, Nichols resigned right after Devon Tower was first announced to avoid a conflict of interest in the land deal that followed. Now they propose to collapse OCURA into this new overarching "Alliance for Economic Development" which will operate as a non-profit tasked with extraordinary influence by City Hall. They say they want this to help them pursue large-scale Core2Shore redevelopment, which makes sense.

It's still hard not to feel uncomfortable with a restructuring of such power. Let's not pretend that the proposed Alliance will not have extraordinary power. Even if it just assumes OCURA's role, that is still a lot of power, especially as the city will probably acquire more pivotal development plots of land. Then they're wanting to bring even more responsibilities into the fold of this new organization, essentially every economic development responsibility that either City Hall, the Chamber, or the CVB are currently already pursuing. That's a LOT.

Kathy O'Connor and others have said that this Alliance would not wield any power. It's statements like that which make me want to run away as far as possible from this thing. I would feel a thousand times more comfortable if they were straight-forward about the power (aka "responsibilities") of this organization.

And that's not even getting into the point of contention regarding the make-up of this Alliance..

No comments: