I don't know when it happened but at some point Columbia City Council just said F--- it! I understand that I didn't have to beep it because Julius Geneachowski the FCC Chairman ruled F Bombs are ok if they're dropped from the heart.
But I'm a classy kind of guy. So anyways the point is the council no longer cares what anyone thinks of them. In the most blatant F U ever given by a city council to the people of the city, the council last night announced they will be taking 7 million dollars from a fund set up for cover health care costs of retired police and firefighters. Despite a room packed with firefighters and police begging the city council to not steal their money, they voted 5-2 to do it anyways. In case you're wondering who are the 2 who still give a damn, they are Moe Baddarough and Leona Plaugh. If you're wondering what would compel 5 city council members to take 7 million dollars away from Columbia's finest and bravest it is the promise of easy money for all of them. The one promising the the get rich scheme is Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Here's how it will play out according to him. The city will take the 7 million and use it as an investment to buy and improve the Palmetto Compress Building.
But isn't that the same building that the Mayor tried to get a company to tear down a few months ago? Well first he tried to protect as a landmark, then as The State pointed out in September he actually saw it and announced he had withdrawn his request to have it protected. In his letter he explained "renovation has unfortunately proven to not be economically feasible". Then last month, once Edwards Community Developers had literly begun demolition of the building in order to build a 40 million dollar housing project for 800 USC students, the Mayor flip flopped on his flip flop! Suddenly he announced "renovating this building could make the city as much as 70 million dollars"! Huh? How? What changed in 6 months for the Mayor to go from "not economically feasible" to telling firefighters and police that we need to gamble 7 million of their retirement healthcare money on the building?
And perhaps that is the answer? There's nothing for the Mayor or people on city Council to lose. Plaugh called the Mayor a liar to his face last night in front of the council and all gathered. The Mayor said "not one penny of their premium's go in to this reserve fund". Yes it does she said. And they went back and forth in the definition of a "he said, she said". One person told the Mayor that they trust the former city manager Plaugh's assessment but asked the Mayor if perhaps her facts were wrong. He declared they were. Plaugh simply stated you'll have to choose whom to believe. Perhaps City Council misinterpreted the yelling of the firefighters and police as support for the Mayor's plan. Or perhaps it isn't any of their money and if their idea of flipping a vacant building for 8 times what they paid for it pan's out the way most get rich quick schemes do they won't lose anything. Apparently they are secure in the idea that voters don't pay any attention to what these people do because they have no fear of losing power.