Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Hypocrisy in the Park



Hypocrisy in the Park

Jerry Swiacki writes that “Veterans’ Community Park is not in jeopardy.” You wouldn’t know it from statements he has made publicly. In a city council meeting Oct. 5, 2015, Jerry Swiacki talked for 3 minutes about how he would configure a $7.5 million government building in the park. In a parks committee meeting (his is chairman) on Oct. 20, 2015, he expressed his desire for a building to “provide amenities for an anniversary party or a birthday party.” You can check these on the city’s website. In a candidates’ forum Sept. 14, 2016, open to the public, he expressed support for the proposed hotel PUD in the park. I think these kinds of ideas very much put our park in jeopardy.

Jerry Swiacki writes that his parks committee “opined that it had sufficiently studied citizen input and to move forward with a park enhancement plan according to the wishes of the people.” He writes that he “didn’t see any of the candidates at these meetings.” He perhaps overlooks that city meetings are broadcast on television, and archived, and that some of us have jobs that don’t allow us to sit through his meetings all morning. It was during his meetings that he announced that he “only wanted to hear positive comments.” That’s some “listening style”! His committee heard from around 50 citizens. By way of contrast, a MICA survey of over 2,500 people voiced a different opinion. I think pushing an idea that 2,500 people might not agree with very much puts the park in jeopardy

Jerry Swiacki writes that “no developer is in control of the park’s design and development.” Well, that’s not because of Jerry Swiacki. A developer did indeed put forward a plan — on which the city  spent thousands of dollars as well — and met in secret with city officials, before discussing it with the public, or with city council. This put the park in serious jeopardy.

Jerry Swiacki writes that “council approved 5-2” with Honig and Rios against, a request for $250,000 for “architectural plans for park development.” I voted “no” because the amount was suspiciously the same as the amount the secret developer plan called for the city to give to the developer when the ink was dry on the contract.

Finally, if the park is not in jeopardy, why is Jerry Swiacki saying it is, out here at early voting? Most of us are campaigning, and no one is campaigning more aggressively on the park than Jerry Swiacki, who greets voters by saying, “I’ll save our park.” Presumably he means from himself.

Larry Honig

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