Ok, I've finally got my computer problems under control enough to type up a quick impression of the meeting Tuesday night. Obviously, as I mentioned in the post-preview, I was disappointed with the turnout. I counted about 35-40 people there at the high point, with numbers trickling down to about 20 by the end. The larger number includes a decent amount of city staff and police officers. As far as "average" citizens its pretty much the same people that always go to these things. Pat Egly, Suzy Bell, Bill Boom, the guy from the first ward whose name I forget, the quiet (mostly) blogger/photographer in the back... Where are all you folks? And where are all the folks that comment on QCTimes.com? You can only get so much accomplished in front of a computer screen.
But back to the meeting...
There was a lot of discussion of the upcoming website and computer system rebirth, and ways to coordinate information so things that are public knowledge really ARE public knowledge. Its obvious from some of the comments that the transition from NEO to Fire Department for inspections is off to a bumpy start, but a decision that bad is probably going to take a while to get working well. I definitely like the idea of being able to go to a one-stop place for landlords to check out potential renters, or renters to check on landlords to see their previous records.
Chief Bladel spoke for a while about what the police have been doing to crack down on crime, and from what I've seen its starting to work. Now they just need to do that all the time. There was a good amount of back and forth conversation with both Bladel, Malin and Tom Warner about various issues, and it occurred to me that our city staff is more available for 1 on 1 interaction than I think a lot of people realize. Many of the attendees were on a first name basis with these city employees. Maybe some of the QCTimes.comments folks should try actually speaking with these people about their issues.
I was also impressed with how Malin's presence was treated. Many of the people at the meeting are probably opposed to his continued employment by Davenport, but they seemed to be able to set that aside and try to work with him on things that need taking care of. One interesting part of the meeting occurred when Frink and Malin made references to an "outside group" being interested in purchasing the Swing. Alderman Meyer protested that he had been told not to mention this as it could cause legal trouble for the city, and Malin and Frink didn't directly answer this. It could possibly be explained as referring to the previous and well-known interest by the Des Moines group a few months ago, but I think it pissed Alderman Meyer off for the rest of the meeting. Alderman Hamerlinck also attended, but like Keith, he was fairly quiet throughout the meeting.
This is already getting too long for some people's tastes, so I'll let anyone who was there fill in any additional stuff in the comments.