By Phillip Newswanger
For once, I agree with Councilwoman Theresa Whibley.
The fury over the Fraim flight was “the silliest thing I’ve ever seen brought up.”
Mayor Paul Fraim, accompanied by City Manager, Marcus Jones, and City Attorney, Bernard Pishko, flew to Baltimore June 16 to “meet with representatives from The Cordish Cos., the company Norfolk chose in August 2013 to redevelop Waterside” into Waterside Live!, an entertainment venue.
At Fraim’s expense, not at the expense of The Public. For $1,400. Chump change.
This isn’t a story of 654 words; this is a news brief of less than 200 words, at most. This isn’t a column slamming an elected official for indiscreet use of money or that the trip was done in secrecy.
Some City Council members disagreed, puffing up their chests and acting as if they are acting in the interest of The Public. It seems they were acting more in their own self-interest than in the interest of The Public.
They can disagree all they want, but to do it in a public forum smells of politicking and posturing.
Mayor Fraim serves for two more years. He may or may not run for another term in 2016. But some City Council members smell blood in the water and are beginning to nibble at the edges. They should be careful: they might find themselves eaten alive.
Councilman Andy Protogyrou, who represents the least populated ward in the city, again blasted Fraim for not disclosing more details about the deal between the city and Cordish.
What’s there to explain?
Go have a nice cup of coffee and talk about it. Why bring it up in a public forum?
Perhaps Protogyrou is upset that he wasn’t told, that he was excluded from the discussions, that he wasn’t invited on the trip. Maybe he should have been sent an invitation, courtesy of the Mayor’s office.
Or maybe he was told something, but he wasn’t satisfied with the answer. If he wants to know, or if any other Council member wants to know, they can pick up the phone and call Jones or Pishko, who, I am sure, would be more than willing to discuss the deal with them.
What’s missing in this scenario?
That Fraim and two city officials flew to Baltimore and didn’t tell Council isn’t really the issue.
To me, the issue is why they had to go to Cordish instead of Cordish coming to us.
Norfolk is the customer, the buyer. Cordish is the seller, so the seller should act more like an interested party instead of a demanding buyer and should be more amenable to the demands of the city.
This is really much ado about nothing.
Oddly enough, a majority of City Council – Johnson, Riddick, Williams and Winn – didn’t comment or, more precisely, weren’t quoted in the article.
Let’s discuss more serious topics.
I wonder who paid for lunch or dinner.
I wonder how that expense will be booked on this year’s tax return.