It takes an election, apparently, to help the city council pass a budget.
Within days of Commissioner Sam Adams' victory over Mayor Tom Potter-endorsed Sho Dozono, tensions between Adams and the mayor seem to have melted. While they were on opposite ends of a budget standoff last week, by Friday afternoon, May 23, the two—plus Commissioners Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman—hammered out a compromise budget that didn't screw over anyone. It's also known as "a budget that we all support," as Potter's Chief of Staff Austin Raglione put it more tactfully.
"I think we, as a council, have ultimately achieved that, even though it was ugly on the way there," says Ty Kovatch, Leonard's chief of staff.
Adams got his transportation and arts funding, Saltzman scored a domestic violence center, Leonard won cost-of-living increases for a few social service agencies, and Potter's Offices of Human Relations and Youth Violence Prevention nabbed precious ongoing dollars. The budget isn't set for a vote until next week, but already council staffers are kicking back, glad that the budget war of 2008 is behind them
Meanwhile, Adams is gearing up for something I can only imagine he scheduled when he was in full campaign mode and couldn't pass up an invitation, no matter how strange. Adams is slated to appear on the Famous Mysterious Actor Show on June 4 at Berbati's Pan, where he'll be interviewed by "'Famous... the greatest entertainer on this planet and three others." If you've seen Famous in action, you already know this will be a sight to behold. (Note to Sam: Good luck... you're going to need it!)
Commissioner-elect Nick Fish may not have any late-night comedy shows in his appointment book, but he's just as busy as Adams. After pulling in around 61 percent of the vote on election night, he's got his eye on the second week of June, the earliest he might be sworn in as the newest city commissioner. He has a busy few weeks ahead of him before he officially takes the reins: "I have a mandate and an independent spot. If the chemistry works out the way I think it will, this will be a very productive council," Fish says.
"I met with Tom Potter yesterday, and asked him some basic questions about transition and protocol, bureau assignments and things like that," says Fish. He has "about two and a half weeks to do some outreach" in hiring his new staff. "We're going to cast a big net, I want to bring some new energy into city hall, and I also want a diverse staff. I invite anyone that wants to apply for a job, including people from [former Commissioner Erik] Sten's office, to apply for positions."
He also had lunch with the head of the housing bureau last week. "Technically I have some discretion over bureau leadership, but I have no intention of making changes now," says Fish. "I've got six months to manage the assignments I get from this mayor and then Mayor Adams gets to assign bureaus as he chooses."