Along with the 2012-13 budget, the City Council's mass approval of a 41-item consent agenda included contract a contract with Self Help for the Southside revitalization and contracts with McCormack Baron Salazar for the Rolling Hills redevelopment. Those projects involve about $28 million of public money over a period of years.
After the vote, City Councilman Steve Schewel (right) was moved "to explain to our community what we've done and why we're doing it." He went on to give a 15-minute speech that precisely laid out his reasoning for supporting the project and believing that the approved contracts – particularly the far larger MBS package – are good deals for the city.
He also framed the projects in a larger context of housing the poor and aiding the homeless, through the penny-for-housing tax.
Wrapping up, though, he changed his approach from financial to historic:
"Finally, I want to say a word about race," Schewel said.