• A few years back a group I was part of was made aware of the HOT funds but this was about a month after the deadline. We called the city to see if an application could still be made and were was told it was too late to apply for that year but could apply the next year and was told to watch the paper for the legal announcement.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.
  • Thanks for the effort and info Edith

    January 17, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
  • This afternoon the Victoria City Council will meet to take action on the funding for the proposed film festival.

    At the Friday workshop meeting, Cm. Tom Halepaska raised the issue of fairness in regard to how these funds were distributed. I challenge Halepaska to stick to his guns on this matter and continue to oppose the bending of the rules as it were. Each councilperson who votes this evening to alter the rules conveys to us, the voters, that his or her integrity is questionable.

    At that same meeting, Cm. Paul Polasek stated that he did not need a committee to tell him what he needed to do in this matter. I challenge Polasek to maintain that attitude at this meeting. This committee needs to hear one more time how you value their time and efforts.

    I sincerely hope that one question that will be asked at some prudent point will be, "If this film festival is three years in the making, why isn't the financing further along?"

    January 17, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
  • well let me tell you im shocked that there's a 'good ole boy' insiders network in this city !

    January 17, 2012 at 12:33 p.m.
  • By the alternative interpretation provided, just about every business person in Victoria would qualify for inclusion in the so-called "good ol' boys club."

    January 17, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.
  • Thank you gentlemen.

    My point being most of the infomation the public receives is filtered do some degree by the agency or editor persenting it as fact. It is only up to each of us to inspect each nugget of news with a mindset calibrated by using research and open minded analysis to make up our individual minds.

    When I find myself agreeing with an person that in the past has been "out there" in either direction I take a timeout to check my logic center.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
  • EditorialBoard:
    "We continue to maintain council members have the right to vote to accept a late application from any group. This process is part of the existing rules."

    Please show me where in the rules this is stated. I've looked through them, but I must be missing it.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
  • Thanks for the info Getsmart.
    I have always interpreted the Editorial Boards views to be very much head over heels in agreement with the 4 ruling parties of the city council. It is even clearer now.

    Hellen Keller could see this coming from the other side of the county.

    I'm only waiting to see how Halepaska votes. He made it more than abundantly clear that there is no need to go against the committee. I still want to see if he votes against this, even though there will be 4 votes for it without him. He could come out smellling like a rose if he votes against it and at the same time shockingly not vote the same as his normal buddies.

    vet43, Even though I hated it, I really did laugh at the Twain / Fox news reference. I must give credit where it is due. That was a good one!

    January 17, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
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    January 17, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
  • GetSmart,

    Point well made and taken to heart. The measure of a newspaper and how it serves the public at large is as much about what it doesn't print as about what it does print. When valuble information or details are excluded from a newspaper it is not reporting the news it is managing the news.

    "We will tell you everything you need to know and the other information is something that you should not worry your little heads about."

    I made up the quote but if the shoe fits..........

    January 17, 2012 at 11:02 a.m.
  • Isn't it remarkable that Mark Twain invisioned Fox News before TV was invented?

    January 17, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.
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    January 17, 2012 at 1:32 a.m.
  • Many people have commented on this Editorial and at the on-linesites of other articles about HOT funds, Film Festival, and Anthony Pedone himself. I love the comments on all sides but this is a very anonymous and self-indulgent way to discuss things. So I hope that all of us will actually attend, in person, with our faces visible, tomorrow's City Council and express our concern about the ethics involved in the handling of this issue. All of us seem to support a Film Festival, most dont like the methods being used. Sure, who cares what happens in a little place like Victoria. We have gotten so used to compromise and power plays that it is just easier to grumble and walk off. How we adult citizens handle these sorts of issues sends a message to the community, our kids, and our visitors. Our issues are small but the principles are very big. (I'm thinking it might make a great movie!)

    January 16, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.
  • The saddest part of this entire conversation is that we even need to have it.

    Does any of this matter in the big scheme of things? Well it does to me.

    LOL, I would imagine there is an attorney somewhere pouring over policies, rules, and previous decisions to see just how easy it will be to show us little people how financing the festival is fully within the authority of the council.

    My opinion only

    January 16, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.
  • Editorialboard,

    If you truly believe "The issue should be whether funding the film festival is a good idea or not" outweighs governmental units adhering to the policies they create, in my opinion, you are way off base and are supportive of the reality we live in a society where rules are not applied equally. It is not what you know but who you know that takes priority.

    Two years ago the issue with the CofC was they were late, not whether the event(s) proposed were a good idea, or at least that is what was stated. Again, if we will not hold local government accountable for consistant application of rules, laws and guideline we have no chance of holding State or Federal govenment accountable.

    Based on your position on this issue I would guess you support putting the four GOP candidates names on the Virginia ballot because the issue is they are good candidates, not that they couldn't comply with State election laws.

    Let's ignore the guidelines on this issue so it becomes the norm and we can then ignore the guidelines when it is convenient on the next more critical issue.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.
  • From the point of view of an organization that followed the process: This year the CC set up a process for allocation of HOT funds which started with a state official giving a presentation for interested parties regarding use of HOT funds. Mr. Pedrone attended that meeting. The next step was that CC voted on amount of $$ that would be distributed to eligible organizations, leaving the amount the same as 2010, and CC chose a committee to review all applications and award grants. This was to take the Council members out of the distribution decision at their own request. Quite a few organizations submitted applications and the Committee submitted their recommendations at last Council meeting. Final vote will be this Tuesday on the Committee's proposal. A number of established organizations, specifically museum and heritage related organizations, did not get funds this year. They spoke out at last Council meeting. No mention by anyone of a film festival. Council member Rangel suggested more money be allocated to help out some of these groups since an estimated $40,000 was still available. That was voted down because 1) it was unfair to the Committee that had worked hard to narrow down the applications and 2) too complicated and time consuming to go back and decide how to redistribute more funds. If anyone should benefit from a decision to loosen up more money it should be the organizations who met criteria, submitted their plans on time, and have shown themselves to be popular. The Mayor was vocal about that at the time. Calling extra meetings and asking for special considerations puts in question this city's ability to be honest and above board with HOT funds in the future. I would love a film festival but if they want HOT funds they should receive the same scrutiny as other projects. Their choice of films, judges, venues, and budget should have been reviewed by the Committee and judged against other applicants. That is the process the CC set up and the one to follow. Many many events in this town occur without HOT fund help. Supporters and underwriters are found and the events succeed. This route is available to the Film Festival and, if it has the supporters that it claims to have, then it will succeed.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:17 a.m.
  • The issue is not whether a film festival is a good idea or not.

    The issue is why would the city create a process to get something accomplished, establish the rules and guidelines of that process, execute the process according to the rules and guidelines, only to backtrack a week later and act like the rules never mattered.

    This is not about a film festival. Try as you might Advocate, you cannot change what is chafing folks over this matter. Folks on the council speak out and make statements, and perhaps to their amazement, some of us are watching and listening, which is what we are supposed to be doing. When we see a discrepancy, we ask questions.

    Yes, the city council can do anything they please. And we can ask questions.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
  • I understand your point, but from what I understand there is a surplus this year that didn't exist 2 years the same time a very promising idea was presented that has the potential to be the beginning of something great for Victoria. Can't we make an exception based on these unique circumstances?

    January 16, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
  • Mr. Williams,
    We don't recall taking a position two years ago on the African-American Chamber of Commerce application and haven't discussed what position we would take on this past issue.
    We continue to maintain council members have the right to vote to accept a late application from any group. This process is part of the existing rules. The issue should be whether funding the film festival is a good idea or not.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.
  • wordup,

    In 2010 they were denied submitting an application after the deadline so I don't have any idea what the event(s) were. I do recall that either the year before or possibly the year in question they were sponsoring a multi-day church convention that was estimated to bring around 300 people from out of town, some did or would have stayed in local hotels.

    My point is that regardless of what the events were or could have been, in my opinion, there has not been equal treatment of all organizations involved in the process.

    One other point, not directed to you wordup, but to the editorial board.

    You stated "No organization has expressed this concern yet" referring to objecting to the potential awarding of these funds. I know the people comprising the board are educated but are you so naive as to really think an organization could object and have any possibility of getting funding in the future? We have already established that fair play and following the rules is not the basis for this funding. Do you really believe an organization is going to put future funding in jeopardy by voicing concerns over this situation?

    January 16, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.
  • Well said, Jeff!

    Polasek could take a hard line two years ago--he wasn't up for relelection then. He may be this year.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.
  • What was the African American Chamber of Commerce requesting money for?

    January 16, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.
  • Again to the EditorialBoard I ask, where was your fervor in support of the African American Chamber when their funding was denied two years ago for not complying with the "rules" established?

    Some commenters on this get the point and some don't. It does not affect me personally if the festival gets funded or not. In the same light it DOES affect me personally when a governmental body that is supposed to represent all individuals and organizations equally continues to change the rules to benefit their personal preferences rather then apply the rules equally to every situation.

    In the current situation you have at least two council members who are standing for what is right, adhere to the policies established, and I hope they continue to hold firm to this. It is not surprising that others won't hold firm but rather change their positions to align with what is the currently "popular".

    On March 29, 2010 Councilman Polasek was attributed by the Advocate to have expressed the opinion in reference to the AACofC not submitting a timely application of: "Polasek also questioned what would happen if the city let one group that missed the deadline apply for funding.

    Two years ago his position seemingly was, all groups should be treated equally. Currently he appears to be in favor of funding a group that missed the deadline for funding.

    Where is the equity when the elected law makers choose NOT to follow the guidelines they have established? From the federal law makers not having to live under the same guidelines they establish for us "little people" to the local law makers swaying with the wind of popularity, this is a major problem that continues to grow in this country. One set of rules for the privileged and another for us common folk. If people won't stand firm agaisnt it at the local level what chance do we ever have for changint it at the national level?

    January 16, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
  • Seemingly- the hotel industry (funds come from their revenue) nor no other entity that failed to submit on timely basis have not taken exception - it seems quite prudent to move forward.
    Put that money to work- it does nothing sitting in a reserve account for another year.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:01 a.m.
  • Oh come on Editorial Board, from his bio it states he's not from Victoria so he can't be a part of the club.....his dad is Dan Pedone, who was recently wed at the Pumphouse before it was even opened......would the Patillos do that for some Johnny come lately? They are very good friends, the Patillos & Pedones. He may have grown up on a ranch but I remember him from high school. I'm not knocking him as a person, I think what he's trying to do is great, I admire his accomplishments.....I do take issue with the lack of timing of his application & how the mayor & CC are tripping over themselves to appease this situation. If this happens, next year when some organization is summarily dismissed for tardiness, I would hope some form of legal action on their part be taken. Again, slippery slope that opens doors best left closed.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.
  • I'm not directing any of my cronyism remarks at Pedone specifically. This festival will probably impact some of the downtown folks, the Welder center representatives and a host of other art loving Victorians that carry substantial clout in this city.

    With that in mind it is almost a guarantee to be supported by 4 council members.
    Maybe all the oilfield folks will tell the hotel owners they want them to ignore the HOT tax rules, that way they wave it from the bill. I mean jee-wiz where do we stop? We stop when little people want something, not when friends in high places want something.

    It's Victoria!!!

    January 15, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.
  • " HOT Funds Application and Pdrocoeducre
    City Policy The City of Victoria accepts applications from groups and businesses whose
    program fits into one or more of the above categories All requests for funds should be submitted in
    writing accompanied by the official application by October 31 2011 The application will be reviewed
    by the HOT Funds Committee at the earliest possible regularly scheduled meeting
    Based on the application the HOT Funds Committee will make a recommendation to the City
    Council The City Council will make the final decision on your request."

    RESOLUTION NO 2011 163 R

    January 15, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.
  • We think it's healthy to have a conversation with readers about important local issues of the day. That's why we choose from time to time to respond to readers' questions about our viewpoints.

    As long as we have attention focused on this issue, we want to let you know that we will begin webcasting our editorial board meetings. You may join our conversations at 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays. This will be the same format we've used for our morning news meetings. The views expressed here represent a consensus of the board; its members are listed under the Editorial Board bio and on our Viewpoints page.

    In terms of the question about Mr. Halepaska's position. He's an honorable man with a legitimate view, expressed by some of you here. We happen to differ with him on this point.

    As for the issue of cronyism, Mr. Pedone's bio indicates he was born in Dallas but spent most of his youth on a ranch in Clayton, N.M. He hardly seems to qualify for inclusion in the so-called "good ol' boys club" of Victoria.

    January 15, 2012 at 3:21 p.m.
  • EditorialBoard,
    Again, why have rules/guidelines if some are upheld to them and others are exempt from them??

    I can NOT put it any better than Councilman Halepaska stated;
    "the festival is "a grand idea" but had reservations about overstepping guidelines the council established for spending hotel occupancy taxes, specifically an application deadline the film festival missed.
    "I don't want to ruin our process," he said."

    January 15, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.
  • What if? I am really surprised that an outfit so anal about the freaking rules is so ready to support the suspension of them!

    What this has turned into is you against me and a few others. You say as much with this statement: "Rather, the opposition seems to come from the usual online suspects who are against every city action. Those who oppose any government spending are at least consistent in their position."

    Fair is fair! But, anyone who has read the Advocate on line knows that fairness is sorely lacking as is a moral compass at times.

    Stephen McHaney, Dan Easton------are you reading this? If it is you behind this screen name, then shame on you! If not, you need to reign in your 'editorial board'. Nowhere have I ever seen newspaper staff take such an adversarial position against readers and commenters. This is crazy!

    Now, if you feel like it is your position to tell the rest of us how we should feel about the decisions OUR elected officials make, then knock yourself out! I, for one, am not concerned about what you think. You're not voting.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
  • Usual online suspect # 7 says,
    I'm not against everything, just the shady looking things that have an almost unbelievable appearance of cronyism that no one other than a few usual online suspects seem to care about.

    Sorry, if it is something that is embarrasingly obvious, I'll be happy to comment against it.

    Even though we differ in our presentation, I consider it a honor to be on the same side of things as Mr. Jeff Williams

    January 15, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.
  • I'm still shocked that they had a special meeting for this. I'm not shocked to see Armstrong changing his tune. I can't wait to see the vote on this debacle.

    I'm supposed to pay my taxes on or before January 31st. Since my taxes are a pretty big deal to me I think I'll just wait until some time im Febraury to pay them and see if the authorities care or if they just let it slide.

    Nevermind, I briefly forgot that I'm not part of the upper crust and the rules especially apply to me "all the time".

    January 15, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
  • What if the other organizations funded by the hotel/motel tax have no objections to the council allowing a late application? No organization has expressed this concern yet.

    Rather, the opposition seems to come from the usual online suspects who are against every city action. Those who oppose any government spending are at least consistent in their position.

    The stance that bureaucratic rules must be observed at all costs is less compelling. Here's one essay on rules and bureaucrats:

    We're not suggesting the Victoria film festival will rival South by Southwest, but Austin started with modest intentions in 1987:

    It's easy to come up with reasons why not to do something. It's much more challenging to stick your neck out and try to improve your city. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If the festival doesn't work out, Victoria can try something else next year -- or not.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:34 p.m.
  • I agree it's a compliance issue.
    What is the purpose of have deadlines, if some groups are upheld to it and others are not?
    City councilman Tom Halepaska said the festival is "a grand idea" but had reservations about overstepping guidelines the council established for spending hotel occupancy taxes, specifically an application deadline the film festival missed.
    "I don't want to ruin our process," he said. "It's just a little late."
    Councilman Gabriel Soliz sided with Halepaska on the issue of the missed deadline.

    This is NOT about For or Against this project.
    Again, why have rules/guidelines if some are upheld to them and others are exempt from them??

    January 15, 2012 at 2:19 p.m.
  • It's not as if he didn't already have this idea when the application/approval process was in the works. It sets a very bad precedent for the future. Slippery slopes should not be allowed in City business as they always wind up becoming liabilities. Next year Pedone needs to make sure he applies in a timely fashion for consideration. This year, Pedone needs to continue drumming up private/corporate sponsers. I wish him luck, I'm sure he will perservere. I think it's a great idea & would be good for Victoria.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
  • Until folks can see this as a compliance issue, and that is what it is, there will never be any productive conversation on it.

    Of course the city can change the rules anytime they wish! Haven't we see that time and time again? But why create rules if you have no intention of adhering to them?

    Many 'good ideas' and opportunities are presented all along the way, but there has to be some kind of structure! Why does THIS project warrant that the rules be abandonded? Apparently Pedone has been working on this for quite some time, as he said in his presentation. His failure to keep track of deadlines or whatever caused him to not file is NOT the city's problem! He should not get a do-over when the others complied. Period.

    Now, apparently Pedone knows where he is getting 57% of his funding because he is only asking for 43%. He mentioned hors d' oeuvres for the VIP Sponsors in his presentation to the council. Perhaps he should secure a few more of those and plan to apply again next year. This time on time.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
  • EA,
    I don't know Mr. Pedone, I don't know what plans he has or hasn't made. I don't know why he couldn't submit his proposal by the proscribed deadline.I don't care. This is a worthwhile endeavor that I believe the City should support any way it can, this year. Next year may be totally different.
    I don't believe we should let rules of any kind stand in the way of progress. We made the rules and we can change them when needed. I know that LOTS of peoples brains may totally explode with this idea. That's OK. I'll be happy to help clean up the mess.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:54 p.m.
  • Storyteller--I understand your enthusiasm for Pedone's project, but you have no problem with his lack of planning or failure to submit his request in a timely manner?

    Just because it is a good idea is not a good enough reason to circumvent the rules! The playing field does not have to be level?

    If you have really been reading the comments carefully, the anti-film festival comments are not really about the film festival. They are about the city council's decisions about the rules for funding any of these projects.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
  • This is so sad. The lack of flexibility and vision often exhibited in our community has the potential to stymie any progressive development. This event has the potential to bring more overnight guests to our city than anything that has come along in a long time. Is it a sure thing? No, but with a little support from us it can be.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.
  • These are really exciting times. In the past these types of things occured every day without so much as a soul knowing about it. Now with the internet and the broadcasting of otherwise "top secret" activities we can see and comment on what used to be something for the elite of a city to sit back and chuckle about.

    Arrogance, favoritism, and cronyism used to be well hidden and impossible for the masses to find out about. It's fun to see it happen in front of us. It's even more fun to see which peoples support a cities governments effort to show that same arrogance, favoritism, and cronyism.

    IMO, if they allow this, it is just another example of our cities officials gone bad.

    Anyone remember the donating of park lands, city workers and equipment for the (so called) park users? Lots of park users parking in Riverside. Just none at the new parking areas. I go to Riverside "a lot" and I still have never seen a zoo goer, frisbee golfer or golfer park there and walk the respective 1/4 or 3/4 miles to the starting point of those areas.

    How about the council allowing citizens of a certain sub-division to make decisions about what public roads get to be used by the rest of us little people?

    I hope I'm wrong about the way I see things and my feeloings on all these activities.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:10 a.m.
  • It appears that the film festival is already a done deal from reading it's web site. Why can't the council wait and see how it turns out first before dedicating funds to it next year IF Mr. Pedone gets his request in on time like the other entities. Or is that too simple?
    Patrick Barnes

    January 15, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.
  • Of course the City is going to break the rules. They have done so in the past. IE violate city ordiance and state law by giving tax payer dollars to city officials for defense lawyers.

    (I wonder if those funds where reported to the IRS as income by the city officials and/or did the city issue 1099 to the lawyers)

    January 15, 2012 at 8:29 a.m.
  • Dear Victorians,

    Folks, we have a lot of free money here. If you want some, you need to tell us before DD/MM/YYYY. If you miss that date then you will not be considerd for the free money. Well, unless you carry some clout in our city. Then we can just brush aside all those silly dates and guidelines we set forth and give you the free money.

    If you are a little person with no ties to the upper crust, forget about it. We don't brush aside rules or guidelines for you.

    Does that sound about right?

    January 14, 2012 at 7:11 p.m.
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    January 14, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
  • My bet is that its already been decided by a vote off 5-2 for funding with the 2 no votes Hagen and Solies. Do you really think city counsil cares what you think.

    January 14, 2012 at 6:12 p.m.
  • "To oppose a good idea because it didn't come fast enough strikes us as foolish."

    To support an idea, good or not, that wasn't presented within the stated guidelines strikes me as cheating those who followed the rules.

    January 14, 2012 at 6:03 p.m.
  • " Mayor Will Armstrong said. "I think the committee did a good job. There won't be any attempt to second guess any of their decisions." Concerning HOT funding to the arts.

    enough said... or not?

    January 14, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.
  • So he cant make a deadline but can create a welfare film festival? Is he going to need a 50% subsidy in paying for this all year? What will happen with the money IF the festival turns.a.profit, however unlikely this will be?

    January 14, 2012 at 5:46 p.m.
  • EditorialBoard,

    What was your position two years ago when the council denied funding the African American Chamber of Commerce due to their application being late?

    The guidelines in question were established, supposedly, to provide equal opportunity to all organizations interested in HOT funding. Your statement about opposing a good idea because it didn't come fast enough as being foolish is absolutely one of the most FOOLISH statements made by the Editorial Board.

    This approach to the granting of funding verges on being discriminatory.

    Establishing guidelines to control a process and then disregarding those guidelines for the benefit of one group supports the position that some on council do not believe rules apply to them.

    I have absolutely no ties to the proposed film festival or the AACofC but see the action of council to be un-equitable. I further believe it is foolish for a news media that should be reporting the facts and pointing out these discrepancies to take a position of support for a council that ignores their own decisions.

    January 14, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
  • good idea but it already seems like the people running it are over matched with the mishandling of the hotel tax fund request

    January 14, 2012 at 5:43 p.m.
  • The council will vote on the request in public view. That rule trumps all. It's up to the council members if they want to accept a late application. That's allowed within its rules.

    We urge the council members to support the festival you say you're all for. To oppose a good idea because it didn't come fast enough strikes us as foolish.

    January 14, 2012 at 5:16 p.m.
  • No, the city is not following its rules for approving this allocation. Not at all.

    And no, the focus should be on the procedure that was established to award the funds. Unlike you, I was at the meeting yesterday, and I listened to all of the discussion, and I have watched the meeting again this morning. With the exception of David Hagan, at this point the film festival is being generally supported by the rest of the council although some have a few remaining questions. The discussion centered around the very issue that Tom Halepaska raised in the meeting, and that I and Jeff Williams and a few others have cited--that is, allowing the rules to be altered to favorable affect one entity.

    I am all for the film festival. It absolutely meets the criteria for the 'arts' segment of the allocations and the money is there. Only Anthony Pedone can tell us why he didn't apply within the application period.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.
  • The city is following its rules in deciding whether to approve this late request for hotel/motel tax money. The focus on the discussion should be on the merits of a film festival. We think that would be exciting for the city and fits well within the stated purpose of the hotel/motel tax.

    Here are a few editorials that question past city decisions, although, generally speaking, we think our city is well-run:

    Let us know when you support a city decision.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
  • edi
    good call. Why does everone think they need to be on the tax payroll? Going to Shiner.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.
  • So we now have it on record that The Victoria Advocate supports not following the rules? Lots of ideas have merit, but why have rules if you are not going to follow them?

    Once in a while it would be really cool for the Advocate to just really, vigorously disagree with something the city did. Just once.

    January 14, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.