Is it just us, or does this city study itself a lot?
On a 4-1 vote Monday, the City Council authorized staff to negotiate with Chicago-based consultant Houseal Lavigne Associates LLC on creation of a comprehensive plan for the city's future. The consultant's work could cost up to $300,000.
Mayor Bob Scott dissented, questioning the potential cost and the necessity.
We share Scott's concerns.
First, $300,000 is no small number. Can the price be reduced? Is it necessary, for example, to spend more money on studying downtown? Within the last several years, studies of downtown have been conducted by Roger Brooks International, the International Economic Development Council and the University of Iowa's Initiative for Sustainable Communities. We are unabashed boosters of downtown who wish to see continued commitment to the transformation of our city's core, but we believe this community should be at the point today where it knows what additional focus and work are needed downtown.
Second, what is the goal here? In other words, what will result from this study? Doable recommendations city leaders will and can embrace and implement? Or, the collection of dust in a file cabinet?
As we have said before in this space, we aren't opposed to community studies as a general principle, but we question the wisdom of taxpayer-funded studies from which nothing results. If this city doesn't have the inclination or money to make recommended changes, what's the point of a study?
If this study moves forward, City Council members should demand it be more than a study for the sake of study.
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A mentor passes
Figuratively and literally, Dean Krenz was an imposing man.
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When I began my career at The Journal as a fresh-from-college reporter in 1981, Mr. Krenz (he was never Dean to me) occupied the publisher’s corner office at 515 Pavonia St. Always impeccably dressed in suit and tie and possessed of stature, large physical size and a businesslike, if not stern outward demeanor, he commanded and received my respect as he strode to and from his place of power in our building.
Out of fear, I avoided him if I could. And because I was far outside any sphere of influence within The Journal in those days, I could most of the time.
From afar, though, I watched, listened and learned.
After I assumed the position of editorial page editor at The Journal in 2004 and Mr. Krenz (who retired in 1994) began submitting his Opinion page column to me for editing (minor editing, his writing was as strong as his conservative views) each week did I grow to appreciate and enjoy another side of him - personal warmth and a sense of humor.
On Tuesday, Mr. Krenz died in Bethlehem, Pa., at the age of 86.
Along with my first editor here, the late Cal Olson, Mr. Krenz provided for me a strong foundation of reinforcement about my decision to pursue a professional career in a daily newspaper newsroom. Through all of the changes absorbed by our local operation and our industry in general through the nearly 36 years I have spent at The Journal, the love of newspapering they inspired, the guiding principles they followed and the examples they set remain indelible marks on me.
In his own unique ways, each was a mentor. I will always remember both men with fondness.
My condolences to the family of Mr. Krenz.
Editorial page editor
Sioux City Journal