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City manager sounds off on the "soap opera" of a mall issue

By Philip Anselmo

City Manager Jason Molino had a few words for the mall merchants in an article by Joanne Beck that appeared on the cover of the Daily News Saturday. Beck starts the article with a lengthy quote from Mitchell Chess, president of the Mall Merchants Association.

What Chess has to say can be boiled down to a single sentiment: "The situation needs to be resolved. Since we can't have those type of negotiations to resolve this amicably, we have to take the city to court." Chess has said this before: in news articles, in a letter to the editor, and here on The Batavian. In other words, this isn't really news.

What it is, instead, is a springboard, fashioned by Beck to allow Jason Molino a high dive into the foray—and that he does, with no lack of bravado.

But first a little background supplied by Beck: Following a somewhat productive meeting of the city and mall merchants in April, the relationship between the two sides quickly soured, and Molino blames it on the merchants, who in turn, blame the city.

Molino says the city was supposed to have six months to "gather information" related—I presume, as this "information" is never qualified outright—to a request by the merchants for repairs to the mall and replacement of the sign.

Not only has the merchants group not allowed the time necessary to do that, but it has fueled the matter by making negotiations public, he said.


It all became a "soap opera" that has done nothing to rectify the situation, he said. He stressed the importance for merchants to perhaps not to be so vocal.

"If you [the mall merchants?] continue with the unprofessionalism and badgering ... it's not going to move forward," [said Molino]. "We had identified the issues to be discussed, and we had a timeframe. This is very simple. If we want to resolve this issue, we can. If not, that's up to you. I will not engage in this public hysteria."

Fine bit of euphemism there: "the importance for merchants to perhaps not be so vocal." I like that. That's nice. A lot better than the more direct route: "Keep yer mouths shut!"

The saga continues tonight at 7:00pm at City Hall, when the Council will vote on whether to replace the mall sign, among other matters. I'll be there. Will you?

Howard B. Owens

I like how Jason DOES NOT jump into the "soap opera" by telling the mall merchants to shut up. Oh, and by calling them unprofessional. And badgering. Nothing inflammatory about that, is there?

Aug 25, 2008, 4:27pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

Gentlemen Please.

I would rather live in the "wild west" where disputes equalled lead after them kinda insults.

What if Everyone stopped their fightin and compromised so that we can have a small town "hoe down".
what a bunch of political crap this is.

Quit the finger pointing and settle on some "solution" that will benefit everyone.

Who is running this one horse town anyways ?

"not me but i can critisize better that way".....

Aug 25, 2008, 5:37pm Permalink
John Roach

Look, everything was at least polite until Council members Bob Bialkowski and Bill Cox got into the act. Bob is and has been for years, employed part time in the Mall. He should have stayed out of this, but just had to try and show he was relevent. After he got into this, it all went down hill.

Don't blame Dr. Chess or Mr. Molino, they would like to settle this. They might not agree on how, but they want this ended. Bob just likes to make trouble.

Aug 25, 2008, 5:58pm Permalink
Russ Stresing

Aside from the issues and controversies, I have to add that the single most refreshing thing about The Batavian is that even the most notable of public figures is willing to blog or comment under their real name. While there is certainly no requirement to do so, its the most common point I use when I brag (and I do so at length) about The Batavian. While John Roach, mark potwora and I have disagreed at length and in depth, I always know that an "A" game is required when debating people who sign their name to what they believe.

Aug 25, 2008, 7:46pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Russ, that's a standard we're going to try and maintain. It can be hard to enforce, but our expectation is that no one hides behind anonymity. As the site gets bigger -- and I trust it will get bigger -- more and more people will try to subvert the system, but we'll do our best to knock down abuse.

Aug 25, 2008, 8:17pm Permalink
Russ Stresing

Mark (I swear I saw it lower case. Damned beer goggles), John, its not so much about knocking down as it is about standing up. Its up to whomever to comment as they wish. Its up to others to respond as they see fit.

There's been more than one "big-time" blog site that has cited The Batavian as an example of how they'd build a local site. They miss the point that its the community that builds a local site. And this community appears to want to build on actually taking responsibility and credit.

Aug 25, 2008, 8:58pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Russ -- I like your take, and it's practically written into the business plan ... we provide the forum (staff to help generate content, guide things, participate (too), and help things along), but it's up to the community to respond and move things along. We're nothing without participation. The more, the better. We'll do our best to keep it civilized, and anything you can do to get more voices on the site, the better.

Or not even just on this site -- this community needs more bloggers in general. I don't care whether they post on The Batavian, or start their own sites ... there needs to be more voices.

Aug 25, 2008, 9:12pm Permalink
daniel cherry

i agree howard.O yea an thanks for the nice, batavian waterbottle holder...did ya see the summer in the city pic video under utube pea8vey channel.

Aug 26, 2008, 1:13pm Permalink

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