Recently, I attended the City Council meeting for a friend. I dislike attending meetings for the same reason that recovering alcoholics avoid bars, but my friend wanted support. I have had the pleasure of knowing him, and his wife, for some time. They are a great, hard-working couple that is expecting their first child. His company had submitted the second lowest bid to paint the "BREC" and their owner wanted some accountability for the large financial discrepancy. My heart goes out to him and all of his crew. Instead of making a decision that would have benefited Bemidji residents, the council awarded the bid to Grand Forks. It was obvious that the council had no intention of changing their minds about the contract from the word go.
I would mention that Kraus-Anderson did not put in the lowest bid for the contract to oversee construction and yet they were chosen in direct conflict with the city charter. It is a vile hypocrisy that belies the terrible decisions made and in the making of the BREC. The city of Bemidji is being deceived, ignored, and burdened by what could be a fine project. Instead, the self interest of an oligarchy has rotted our citizen's trust.
I can no longer tolerate referring to the bureaucratic legerdemain as anything less than the corruption and hypocrisy it is. It gives too much credit to the villains.
During election season I listened to the mayor claim that the event center would create much-needed jobs for our area, and at the meeting he exposed the lie for what it was -- $90 million of our money will be dispensed to the winds and when all is said and done, we will be poorer for it not only financially, but as a community. There will come a day of reckoning when all of the indiscretions and betrayals of those in power will be exposed to the dread gaze of truth.
For now all I can do is pray for my friend and hope that his new family can make it in these uncertain times. The City Council was given an opportunity to do a good thing, the right thing, and they failed.