More on the City Council’s ‘great compromise’

Published: 4/6/2019 8:12:57 AM

The recent Greenfield City Council debate over the so-called “great compromise” answered a number of questions, save one— why was Precinct 1 Councilor Verne Sund decked out in full military dress uniform?

The answer, it turns out, is a lot less complicated than the debate itself.

“It was my way of showing respect to the town,” Sund said. “Besides, it’s the only coat and tie I own.”

Pure Verne.

Unfortunately, not everyone viewed it as a sign of respect. A number of people took to social media after the fact to classify Sund’s wardrobe choice as being inconsistent with military protocol, which prohibits the wearing of dress uniforms to political events.

Some speculated that Sund may have worn the uniform to avoid being booed for voting against the library, but it was pretty clear that didn’t factor into his reasoning.

Sund also indicated that he plans to run again, despite being the focus an abortive recall effort earlier this year. He said to expect an announcement some time next month, and he should probably expect opposition, possibly from more than one candidate.

If he does manage to win another term, Sund may very well find himself in the minority, ideologically speaking. With Isaac Mass, Brickett Allis and Wanda Muzyka-Pyfrom all leaving, the council is poised to take a hard left turn, possibly back into progressive super majority range, depending on who runs and whether they can attract votes in what are typically pretty conservative areas.

Referendum season

Electing a new mayor and half a new city council apparently aren’t the only storylines in Greenfield this election season.

It’s quite possible that voters will have no less than three referendum questions to consider, all related to the aforementioned “great compromise.”

There are currently three petitions being circulated to overturn the council votes on the library, the loosening of commercial zoning restrictions on the French King Highway and a series of changes to the city’s “major development review” ordinance.

It remains unclear at this point whether the library referendum might impact Greenfield’s chances of securing a $9.4 million state library construction grant. And while some may be surprised to see a library petition being circulated, absolutely no one should be shocked to see the rezoning face a referendum challenge.

Such a move is right in Sprawlbuster Albert Norman’s tactical wheelhouse, but people are reacting more vehemently this time out of fear that reversing the zoning vote could jeopardize the library, even though, as Norman correctly points out, the two issues really have nothing to do with one another, despite being packaged that way.

Not surprisingly, the sprawlbuster is taking a bit of a beating on social media. A few have accused Norman of “hating” Greenfield, which is too simplistic a way to look at it. I don’t believe Al hates the town but has a vision for Greenfield which includes no or limited development of a certain size – and he clearly believes there are enough people who agree with him to take it to the voters.

There are others who seem to feel that Norman only wants to block such development to preserve his national “sprawlbuster” reputation. I think that may be closer to the truth, though he likes to make a big deal about saying how he’s never “made a dime” from his efforts to keep Walmart from darkening Greenfield’s door.

I wonder if the sales figures from Amazon say differently, which is where Norman sells a lot of his books – an irony which should be lost on no one if this ends up going on the ballot this fall.

Get well, Dick

A thought today for one of Greenfield’s truly good guys.

Dick Henry is a long-time Greenfield assessor and a member of the city’s Democratic “old guard.” Dick recently has been battling some serious pretty health issues, but has rallied and appears to be improving by the day.

He is currently recuperating at the Charlene Manor Nursing Facility, if anyone wants to send a card or show some other means of support to a man who has done a lot to make Greenfield a better place to live, work and play.

Get well soon, my friend. We clearly need you, now perhaps more than ever.

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