Tag: city council
Will the city of Watertown, N.Y., pull a fast one and, in a blatant quest for profits, sell land intended for a dog park to a developer?
The city council is considering it, though it took no such action Monday night.
Even though signs announcing the new park are already up, even though citizens have raised $3,000 of the $80,000 needed to open it, even though the land has been designated as parkland and the city accepted grants to accomplish that … a developer’s offer of money for the land is being considered.
Last week, the city received an offer from developer P.J. Simao to buy the land allotted for a dog park at Factory Square, Fox 28 in New York reported.
Simao’s offer came after plans started months ago to turn the site from some unused green space with a trail going through it into what some say would be a focal point for the city’s efforts to revitalize the Factory Square Park neighborhood.
So who will win out? Dogs, dog owners, citizens, community revitalization and the environment? Or one developer, and the city’s hunger for bucks — both from the immediate sale and in terms of future property tax revenue?
“To have that property back on the tax rolls, I think, would be beneficial to us,” council member Steve Jennings said at the Monday night meeting.
The Watertown Daily Times reports that Jennings introduced the proposal to sell the land to the developer, saying the city could use the money generated from the deal for the dog park and relocate it someplace else.
We’ll assume he’s talking about relocating the park, and not the money.
Fortunately, there are a few obstacles in the way of what Jennings probably sees as progress.
And it will probably be one of those obstacles — as opposed to lying to and deceiving dog owners and all those who have donated to the project — that, if anything can, stops the sale.
Factory Square is designated park land and was built with grant money, and selling it would involve going through the state and the National Parks Service.
“I think it’s intentionally made to be a difficult process,” City Planner Ken Mix said. “The purpose for putting the money into park land was to provide park land and to keep it as park land.”
“It’s not that I’m anti-development or anti-free money,” Mayor Jeff Graham said, “it’s just I don’t see that park land hurdle as something the city can overcome.”
The city’s consideration of the offer also hamstrings those trying to raise money for the dog park.
“We’re at a halt right now,” said dog park supporter Erin Gardner, who’s also director of the city’s Parks and Recreation department.
“There’s nothing that we can do,” Gardner said. “I ask that council not delay the decision-making process in this so that we can stay on this momentum.”
A better question to ask might be why the offer is even being considered — given the commitment the city had already made to the dog park. Why wasn’t the developer just told that land is not for sale?
The city council of Watertown should keep its promise — they should take a lesson from dogs and should show those they are serving a little loyalty, no matter how much money drooling developers are dangling in front of them.
(Photo: Watertown Daily Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, city council, developer, dog park, dogs, factory square, factory square park, greed, land, loyalty, new york, pets, profits, promise, sale, watertown
The California mayor caught on video flinging a bag of dog poop into a neighbor’s yard has resigned.
Dennis Kneier’s resignation as mayor of San Marino — he’ll remain on the city council — came amid mounting criticism about his behavior in what some have dubbed “Poopgate.”
About 100 community members attended a June 11 city council meeting, where some residents called for Kneier’s resignation.
He offered it, effective immediately, yesterday.
The controversy began after Kneier’s neighbor Philip Lao discovered the small bag of dog poop outside his home.
He reviewed video from his home’s surveillance cameras, which showed Kneier tossing the bag.
San Marino police cited Kneier for littering that same day, and the video, which Lao shared publicly, went viral.
Lao — apparently not good buddies with Kneier — believes the mayor intentionally tossed the bag in retribution for putting a “No Poop Zone” sign outside his home and publicly opposing a proposed dog park, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Our take on all this? We think his honor behaved childishly, and less than honorably, but we also think — when it comes to the amounts of shit politicians routinely sling — Kneier’s poop-pitching was probably both less heinous and less harmful than much of what, historically, has been hurled.
In San Marino, Vice Mayor Eugene Sun will assume mayoral responsibilities through June 27 when the council is scheduled to meet and select a new mayor. Kneier will remain on the City Council until his term ends in November 2015.
In his letter of resignation, Kneier apologized, saying he suffered a moment of bad judgment.
“I thought it would be the very best thing for us to move forward and have a reorganization and have a new mayor,” he said in an interview with NBC in Los Angeles.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bag, california, city council, dennis kneier, dog, dog park, dog poop, dogs, littering, mayor, neighbor, no poop zone, pets, philip lao, politics, poop, resignation, resigned, resigns, san marino, surveillance, tossed, video, viral
If you think dogs don’t play a role in politics, consider Hooch.
Shot and killed by a police officer in February in the tiny town of Filer, Idaho, the seven-year-old black Lab is the force behind a petition to recall the town’s mayor and all four members of its city council.
Residents — and more than a few outsiders — are still angry over Officer Tarek Hassani’s shooting of the dog, recorded by his patrol car’s dashboard cam and since seen, thanks to the Internet, around the world.
In the video, he can be seen arriving to investigate a report of a dog on the loose, yelling and kicking at the barking animal, shooting it, and then confronting the dog’s owner in a belligerent (and that’s putting it nicely) manner.
An “outside” investigation found no wrongdoing on his part, and Hassani, on paid leave pending the results of the investigation, returned to regular duty this past Saturday.
On Tuesday, the effort to recall the mayor and council started, the Twin Falls Times-News reported.
After the shooting, there were demonstrations, and officials in the city of just over 2,500 people held public hearings that led to some changes, including scheduling training sessions for officers on how to deal with dogs.
“I think they’re going to do their best to make the recall work,” said Mayor Rick Dunn. “They only needed 20 (signatures) to start the process, and they’ve gotten that far.”
Gathering 20 signatures for each city leader’s recall petition is only a first step. Organizers now have 75 days to gather 201 signatures for each official — 10 percent of the number of voters registered in the last city election — to bring about a recall election.
An investigation by the Nampa Police Department, about 150 miles northwest of Filer, found the shooting was justified, but it did question why the officer didn’t stay in his vehicle, call the owner of the dogs or call for backup.
Town officials have scheduled a mandatory eight-hour training session on how to deal with aggressive dogs for Filer’s police officers on May 3.
Mayor Dunn said fallout from the shooting has placed the town in a bad light.
“I hate to see that,” he said. “Filer is a nice town: We have good staff, good people here. Give Filer a little more credit than this.”
(Photos: Top, Mike Preston and his wife, Brenda, sign a recall petition, by Ashley Smith / Times-News; bottom, citizens who, because of the size of the crowd, couldn’t get into a town hearing on the case in February, by Drew Nash / Times-News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, black, cam, city council, dashboard, dog, dogs, drive, filer, hooch, idaho, killed, lab, labrador, mayor, officer, petitions, pets, police, recall, retriever, rick dunn, shooting, shot, tarek hassani, video
Citywide pit bull bans are often knee jerk reactions — maybe even more so when a county sheriff”s knees are involved.
One week after Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was approached in his yard by four dogs “acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds” — and fired a shotgun at them, grazing one — the Alabama city of Clay passed a “vicious dog” ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
The sheriff, according to a spokesman, fired a warning shot into the ground, then another round of “bird shot” in the direction of the dogs, leading them to turn away. Animal control arrived to round up the dogs, and their owner was charged with letting them run at large. The dog hit by Hale’s shot survived, AL.com reported.
That incident prompted the city council in Clay, with a speed seldom seen in government affairs, to pass an ordinance banning pit bulls and other “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs.
The ordinance bans new pit bulls and mixes that include pit bull. Such dogs already kept in the city limits are grandfathered in but must be registered with the city in the next 60 days. The ordinance requires they be kept indoors and mandates owners post a prominently displayed “beware of dog” sign. Owners are also required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Having sought little public input before passing the law on June 3, the city council has gotten some since, AL.com reports.
A standing room only crowd filled Monday night’s meeting of the Clay City Council, with most citizens arguing the breed is not “inherently dangerous” and criticizing the law for unfairly penalizing responsible owners. Many, including a representative from the Birmingham Humane Society, urged the council to consider a non-breed specific dangerous dog law instead.
One speaker continued to voice his concerns after his turn to speak was over. When told he was interrupting, he continued his comments, leading Mayor Charles Webster — perhaps deeming him to be inherently dangerous — to ban him from the room.
“You are turning us all into criminals,” the man, identified as Mark Lawson, said as a deputy led him outside.
City Attorney Alan Summers said he would try to have a new or modified ordinance for the council to consider at its next meeting on July 1.
(Top photo by Jeremy Gray / AL.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, ban, banned, breed-specific, breeds, charles webster, citizens, city council, clay, county, criticism, fines, insurance, jefferson, knee jerk, laws, legislation, mayor, meeting, mike hale, mixed, ordinance, pit bull, pit bull bans, pit bulls, pit mixes, pitbull, pitbulls, reactions, restrictions, review, sheriff, shooting, shot, signs
First-time violators would receive a written warning or a fine of up to $250, if the animal is injured. A repeat offender could face a $500 fine and up to three months in prison, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Tethering an animal for an extended period of time is cruel and unusual,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. “This bill will not only prevent this type of unnecessary cruelty, but also increase public safety for pedestrians throughout the City.”
The council voted 47-1 in favor of the bill, which prohibits leaving an animal tied up for more than three consecutive hours in any continuous 12-hour period.
The council also approved an increase in the cost of annual license for dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered, raising the fee to $34 from $11.50.
Revenue generated from the incnrease will be used to subsidize animal population control programs.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, bill, city council, dog, dogs, fees, increase, jail, law, license, neuter, new york, new york city, news, overpopulation, pets, population, prison, sentence, spay, term, tether, tethered, tethering, tying
The city council in Willamina, Oregon, voted 4-0 to evict the 14-year-old cat.
The council gave Head Librarian Melissa Hansen and Youth Services Librarian Denise Willms 10 days to find a new home for Agatha Christie.
It’s not the first time Agatha Christie has been on the verge of homelessness.
In the late fall of 2005, the council voted to ban all but guide animals from city-owned buildings. The community quickly rallied to the cat’s defense — and the council ended up making an exception for the cat, but not her hamster buddies, Hamlet and Othello.
Hamlet and Othello found new homes, and Agatha Christie remained in the library. (The controversy was also partially responsible an unsuccessful recall effort against then Mayor Rita Baller and two council members, according to Yamhill Valley News Register.)
Apparently, a local resident claims her two-year-old daughter was bitten and scratched by the declawed and mostly toothless old cat in late September. The cat was resting on a shelf in the library when the child approached and petted her.
“I’m not against animals, but I have a genuine concern,” one complaining resident said. “Animals get grouchy when they get older. I don’t think an animal should be roaming around a public building. The cat needs to live somewhere else. The library is a public building. I think there are allergy issues and sanitation issues. It’s not a good place for a cat to reside.”
Librarian Hansen was surprised by it all: “She is the most laid back cat there is. She’s been declawed and she hardly has any teeth. She has to eat soft food … Anything a small child can do to an animal it’s been done to Agie. Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of things happen to her. She has never gone on the offensive. She just gets away and hides under my desk.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agatha christie, animals, bit, cat, cats, child, city council, claim, complaint, evict, evicting, eviction, library, melissa hansen, news, oregon, pets, rescue, scratched, shelter, willamina
The city council member in Washington who was attacked by a bear while walking his dogs described his ordeal yesterday in a news conference at a Seattle hospital.
John Chelminiak, a member of the Bellevue City Council, was attacked outside his family’s cabin on Lake Wenatchee on Sept. 17 while taking the family dogs out for their evening walk.
Chelminiak, 57, his dogs Boji and Peekaboo on their leashes, had barely gotten out of the drieway and crossed the road when he heard a rustle in the bushes, the Seattle Times reported.
A 150-pound bear pounced on Chelminiak, causing deep lacerations to his scalp and face, and injuries to his left eye that were so severe doctors had to remove it.
During the attack, Chelminiak said, he managed to get away, at which point the bear rounded a corner and pounced on the dogs. Chelminiak said he pulled on the dog leashes, which were still in his hand, and yanked them out from beneath the bear.
Family members say neither dog was seriously injured, though one limped slightly after the attack.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, attack, bear, bellevue, chelminiak, city council, council, dogs, john chelminiak, lake wenatchee, member, news, pets, walk, walking, washington, wildlife