Commissioner Sheehan Criticizes City for Lack of Transparency on See Art Orlando and Tinker Field

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Take Flight

At yesterday’s City Council meeting Commissioner Patty Sheehan criticized the Mayors office and the City for not being transparent in both the See Art Orlando project and the decision to demolish Tinker Field.

Sheehan who represents District 4 which includes Lake Eola where most of the See Art Orlando statues were placed stated she was disappointed that there was no public input via the Public Art Advisory board. At yesterday’s meeting the commissioners were voting to approve an agreement with OUC regarding the lighting of the sculptures which would cost the City around $2,500 per year.

Sheehan stressed that she is a supporter of the project just not the process.

Sheehan spent about two minutes criticizing the lack of public input on the demolition of Tinker Field.

As we’ve been reporting the demolition was brought up two weeks ago at a City Council workshop and then at yesterday’s meeting the Mayor said the City would hold off on demolition.

Here’s a transcript and video of Commissioner Sheehan’s comment to the City Council regarding these two items:

I’ve served on the City Council for 13 years and I’ve seen some good, some bad and a little ugly. I’ve been a little distressed by the ugliness of two of the items today.

See Art Orlando is a great project but I feel there was an appalling lack of public input and oversight because this was a privately funded project. Now we as a council are being asked, after the fact, to provide funding.

It’s come to my attention that significant city resources staff and time were used for the project. There should be transparency in all that we do. There is a Public Art Advisory board and a process for a reason.

I’ll be voting against time J1 because although it is a great project, it was done in the wrong way without public input.

I feel the same way about Tinker Field.

We have a Historic Preservation Board and an appeal process for a reason. Policies provide checks and balances particularly in a strong mayor form of government. The wrecking ball, I’m glad, is not going to hit tinker field but it was immanent.

I did not know the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at Tinker Field or many of rich historic facts that have come out in the past week. That is because there was no public input. The City Council found out about this plan on Thursday before the Monday vote. There was no time to post meetings for the Council to discuss this matter.

I am well aware of the questioning financial blows that accompany six-to-one votes. I have lost historic lighting funds for my district as well as brick repair. I don’t want my constituents to have to pay for my political hubris. But I also can’t keep going along with violating process that protect the citizenry from tyrannical behavior.

I can’t support the demolition of Tinker Field. I tried to bring up some compromises last week, but I knew that I was not negotiating from a position of strength.

We get more public input on speed humps on a street than this process involving millions of dollars and the destruction of a historic asset and I feel that is wrong.

I don’t want to argue about which commissioners plan is the best for today. It’s no better if we work in a vacuum without input from the community.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King walked onto a baseball field in the City of Orlando and asked this community to buy into his vision. Why is that process so troubling for us?

I believe in the people of this community and we should listen to their concerns. I am pleased that we are evaluating alternatives and hope for a resolution that involves the stakeholders of this community, the citizens of Orlando.

Thank you.

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