Oh, she is far-and-away the most responsive person on council to concerns. But to put both her and Washington into the leadership positions is weird. Yeah, hopefully she'll get along better with Andy, but for as much as Virg was hard-headed, they bumped heads because she was equally as stubborn. And Washington is conservative and on top of that she can be downright petty. A council president and vice-president are supposed to be the kinds of people who can build bridges between factions. These two are literally the leaders of one of the factions.
Just some history when it comes to development, but Wood was against selling Red Cedar; Jody (who was running for council at the time) was non-committal. Wood tried to kill Market Place after they had already voted for it, and had the court overturn the council's decesion, which sought deny Gillespie brownfield incentives over a dispute over a project labor agreement. There is so many more.
To be fair, the council generally ends up voting for these projects, and I'm not against proper oversight. But a lot of times folks like Wood micro-manage these things. Sometimes it's for ostensibly legitimate reasons, but a lot of times it was out of spite.
I am sorry to hear Ms. Woods is a conservative, I will try not to let that diminish my view of her too much! I am hoping for a general comity to be the way these folks conduct themselves with new council members and a new major. Why have factions? Lansing should be their only concern.
I think I was clear. They aren't "conservatives" in the big C sense, but more conservative than the city as a whole. And as for factions, I wasn't talking about national factions, either. I think you think I'm calling them conservative Republicans in the national sense. While Wood was once a Republican, and while Washington is a "law-and-order" type, they are plenty progressive enough on a lot of issues that it wouldn't be fair to call them "conservatives" in the sense you were thinking.
It's more fair to say that that council has been split between kind of unabashed progressives, and then on the other side the Wood, Washington and Hussein faction which is certainly more fiscally conservative (and sometimes more socially conservative) group.
I'm just saying that these two in leadership isn't the most accurate representation of the council or the city, and I fear they took advantage of the new council members who don't know this faction. Jeremy Garza will be another vote for them, but Spadadore and Jackson are definitely folks who fit on the progressive wing, and I'm kind of confused as to how she got their votes.
Ha! They threw me for a tiny loop. Instead of Wood and Washington being on Planning & Development, Washington's son, Councilman Hussein, will chair the committee with his mother, Councilwoman Washington, as another member along with Councilwoman Spitzley. That's still a 2-1 majority for anything they want.
Wood, Washington and Hussein are the three "development-skeptical" faction on council, and it sounds like newly elected Councilman Jeremy Garza will be joining this faction. And Wood has placed at least one of the three of them on every council committee, it appears. Wood also placed herself and Washington on the powerful Ways and Means committee.
I kind of feel like voters kind of fell asleep, or more specifically the progressives in the city didn't inform voters enough about how council could turn out. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of 4-4 votes.
I hope that this council doesn't do too much to interfere with development in the city. I'm less optimistic about Lansing's future than I was back in 2008, so much of what has been proposed in the past 10 years hasn't materialized and I don't think enough momentum has been gained to weather an anti-development city government. There's no telling how long the favorable national economy will last nor is it clear if the resurgence in cities and urban living is a fad or a longer term shift, Lansing has to capitalize on this time.
I'm going to remain in wait and see mode when it comes to this council and mayor but I'm not liking the way the city government is shaping up as of now and having a mother-son duo on the council is an ominous sign for the city's politics. I just hope that the council recognizes that the revitalization of Lansing is in a very fragile state right now, that any momentum lost could be disastrous and that growing and improving the city at large starts with a growing and vibrant downtown. Without a significantly improved and expanded downtown Lansing simply won't be a strong competitor to attract the best people or companies.
I really think that city has shown enough growth that it's largely self-sustaining. It's not like we're going to go back to losing nearly a thousand people on net a year like we did last decade. There's a lot of stuff that's been going on outside the downtown area that simply doesn't get a lot of press, a lot of stuff you'd never hear about years ago.
That said, I feel this council could hold back growth and slow down the recovery, which would be sad. I don't feel like the leadership represents where the city is and certainly not where we want to go. I'm also in a wait-and-see mode, but Washington and Hussein seem most concerned with stamping out weed in Lansing, so they've never paid much attention to the development process and are generally hostile to developers. And Wood is just famous for slowing down every proposal that comes before the council.
I've been heartened that Andy is committted to economic development as a priority like Bernero. But I kind of second guess his committment when he seems to be so lassez-faire about what's happening over in council. If you really care about this stuff, you want a team that kind of shares you vision and you want to put it out there in the public that that is what you want instead of "I can work with anybody." Sure, you can work with anybody, but there are people who are harder to work with towards the vision than others. Washington and Hussein act like two busy-body chuch ladies obsessed with the 'devil weed,' and Carol is Carol. It doesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence.
BTW, speaking about predictions the politics aside, I really feel like this will be the year we see the first legit high-rise proposal in the core since the Capitol View complex. It just seems like the next logical step and the one kind of development missing over these years of recovery.
Thank you for the inside view of the new city government. I often wonder about politicians and their reasons for being. It would seem obvious for a city council person in Lansing to be pro-development. To have goals like getting marijuana out of Lansing after that Genie has been out the bottle for so long is just a stupid holier than thou attitude that will go nowhere. Why? How will this help Lansing? I am thinking that Lansing might very well be rolling along to a brighter future despite what our city government may be doing, much like our national economy is rolling along despite, not because of what our government is doing in Washington.
Not to be a storm cloud on the horizon, but we are due for a recession some time in the near future... which will undoubtedly slow momentum for local development, regardless of the desires of any city council. My major concerns at this point would be the end of the yet-to-start Red Cedar project, as well as any other large future building projects along the Michigan Ave corridor.
I wonder why you think that a recession is on the way? I could see some issues with GM figuring out how to grow in the coming years. I have seen reports of the overall world economy as continuing to grow in future as more people around the world are lifted out of poverty and become consumers, and the world spends less on fossil fuels for energy.
I do agree that it is very important to get the Red Cedar project going now in good times. I do not see anything like the Great Recession that we have just been through happening unless the repubs somehow screw it all up or get us into another war.
Because recessions come in cycles, and were are well overdue for another recession in the United States. So far, so good; and the state house fiscal agency came out just yesterday saying they predict more slow growth in Michigan for the year. But it's definitely something to look out for on the national front. Doesn't mean it's going to be a great recession, or anything, but don't be surprised if we start seeing signs of on in the summer or something.