Stormwater, ‘Champions’ at King town hall

       In a well-attended town hall at the Westside Community Center that lasted nearly 2˝ hours, District 3 City Councilmember Keith King sought extensive responses on two issues - stormwater and the “City of Champions” proposal.
       Neither are specifically Westside issues, and King (who is also the council president) apologized at the end for not getting to more of the topics that had been advertised beforehand.
       These included transient problems at Bancroft Park (a topic he himself had listed) and whether Mayor Steve Bach's proposal for “economic priority zones” discriminates against other areas, such as the Westside. The latter topic had been one of a few suggested beforehand by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), but none of the OWN board members at the meeting complained about the omissions.
       About two hours in, Jeff Hitchcock (one of close to 50 citizens initially on hand) pointed out to King that “a lot of people were interested in the homeless issue, and they've all left.”
       The stormwater issue did have some local connection because the recent rains and flooding affected this side of the city. But King focused the discussion mainly on his view that stormwater maintenance in general is a high priority and a regional solution is needed. Bach has talked about a city-first plan.
       King also emphasized his belief that the city should put up a significant amount of money from the funding sources it has now - and so should other government entities in the county - before going to citizens to seek a fee or tax. This stance brought some applause from the audience.
       On the City of Champions - a proposal from the mayor's office to request a state grant for four tourism-related projects (with local funds probably needed as well) - most attendees were critical of all or part of the plan, noting concerns about costs and public need. King said he is not totally averse to it, but is unsure if the downtown baseball park aspect is viable.
       While his positions on both stormwater and “Champions” are not in full agreement with those of Bach, King did note at one point that “the mayor is a great guy and a good friend.”

Westside Pioneer article