Riggy Slips The Leash - Again
Whenever I see developer Barry Saywitz's name on the agenda I make it a point to watch the proceedings because he and carpetbagger Commissioner Jim Righeimer have this little feud going that makes for some fun viewing. Last night was no exception.
You may recall that Righeimer went after Saywitz like an unleashed pit bull when Saywitz was attempting to get a condo conversion project approved. This time, during a re-hearing of the same project, old Riggy was back at him again, trying to micro manage the project by questioning every line item in the project to see why Saywitz felt he couldn't make sufficient profit if he was forced to delete three of the twelve units.
This time, however, crusty Chairman Donn Hall wasn't having any of it. He stopped Righeimer in his tracks as he began tenaciously interrogating Saywitz, told him he had embarrassed the commission previously with that kind of nonsense and that he, Hall, wouldn't put up with it this time. Riggy fired back, saying he was appointed by the city council to do exactly what he was doing. Hall persisted and prevailed after threatening to muzzle Riggy on this subject. I must admit that I enjoyed watching Hall cuff Righeimer around as he barked at him on the dais.
Saywitz was the loser, though. His project was denied, as commissioner Clark and Vice Chair Fisler joined Righeimer in voting it down.
Righeimer has demonstrated again that he's a dangerous guy to have angry at you. Watching him in action against Saywitz, it's clear that he has a burning animosity toward him. One suspects there may be more here than meets the eye.
In any event, Righeimer's conduct on the dais should cause any developer planning to do business with our city to take pause. An earlier speaker, a developer with a long history of doing business in our city, virtually said as much during his comments. If the city is serious about re-vitalizing the Westside of our city it needs to, in addition to developing reasonable development standards, work hard to make the Planning Commission a whole lot more "user friendly" and much less adversarial. Somebody needs to get a trainer for Riggy, to teach him to sit, stay and heel on command.