The Mayor’s Denial

By Peter Dorfman

At the April 27 City Council hearing on the proposed Local Income Tax increase, Mayor John Hamilton, Deputy Mayor Don Griffin and Housing and Neighborhood Development Director John Zody all denied that they ever had any intention of subsidizing duplex development with LIT money. Their denials sounded categorical.

But when City Council President Susan Sandberg pressed Hamilton and Zody to explain what they meant by the use of funds language about “supporting missing housing types,” the best they could come up with was co-op housing, like the new Bloomington Cooperative Living project on 9th St. Hamilton made some vague reference to co-housing, which is essentially the same thing. Zody suggested the entire stratum of workforce housing was a missing housing type.

Here’s the discussion, edited for length but in context.

One can accept the administration’s denial that this proposal aims to fund plex development, but remain wary about the mayor’s dancing around what the missing housing type language really means. To those of us who have heard Hamilton use this phrase again and again over the last three years, it has one clear connotation, and it’s not co-ops.

As that prominent former Democrat Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “Trust but verify.”

2 thoughts on “The Mayor’s Denial

  1. In a similar vein, I’ve been trying to follow up on the Tom Guevara and Justin Ross March 24 Herald Times guest column entitled “Before raising local income taxes, shouldn’t we look at Bloomington’s budget?”. In it they wrote “Evaluating claims of need requires a level of fiscal transparency that Bloomington does not provide.” Council President Sandberg asked Controller Underwood about the guest column during the April 13 Common Council meeting:

    I contacted Tom Guevara to get his reaction. His response began “the response to Councilor Sandberg’s question was fine in as far as promises to do a better job of reporting (sic)” but went on at some length about substantive issues that Controller Underwood did not address.

    I contacted the three at large council members and CM Rollo (my district CM) and the Mayor. Neither the Mayor nor CM Sims ever responded.

    I sent questions to ‘Ask the Mayor’ and (WFIU) ‘Mayor’s corner’ (H-T) and both media outlets dutifully performed their stenographic function of recording the mayor’s response without follow up questions.

    The Mayor and the Controller have done a good job of sticking to the same script, but I don’t have the sense that they have actually addressed the issues in the guest column. On ‘Ask the Mayor’ Hamilton said that ‘his people’ were available to provide additional information, so I contacted him at his official email address again, and again there was no response.

    I wonder if, having created the illusion that the Mayor is responding to these concerns, it would have been better had I not contacted these media outlets at all.


  2. “Workforce Housing” is not a housing type. Workforce housing refers to housing that is available for a specific economical level. Workforce housing can take many different types of forms and can be either owner occupied or rental.


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