Turns Out There Is Such A Thing As A Bad Question

Whoever first said there is no such thing as a bad question obviously never met Jamestown City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo.

Unlike fellow freshman council member Vanessa Weinert, whose questions have proven to be insightful and thought-provoking during her first two months on the council, Liuzzo continues to spend his time howling at the moon and wasting the public’s time.

Last week, Liuzzo questioned the use of a dummy resolution amending the terms of a Jamestown Local Development Corp. loan and asking why the council was voting on a blank piece of paper. It shouldn’t take long to clear up the use of a dummy resolution — the resolution wasn’t finalized in time for the council’s pre-file deadline, so a placeholder is used to let the public know a JLDC loan will be discussed. Any questions about the blank piece of paper Liuzzo first received on Feb. 22 could have been cleared up with a phone call to Mayor Sam Teresi or City Clerk Todd Thomas or even by reading his email on Feb. 23, when Liuzzo and the rest of his colleagues received the complete resolution detailing the city’s new agreement with HH Jamestown LLC, developer of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel. And, even if Liuzzo was still confused about the dummy resolution he had initially received, did he not remember endorsing the general idea of renegotiating the loan terms after the council’s discussion of the item on Feb. 5? Liuzzo commended development director Vince DeJoy for his work on the matter, for crying out loud. What changed over two weeks?

Then, the councilman questioned whether it is proper for the council to accept a grant on behalf of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, calling for the resolution to be tabled because accepting the grant is not the city’s responsibility. We’re surprised Liuzzo doesn’t know that the BPU is an arm of city government, not a separate organization from city government. It has a separate board, but the city is the backstop for all BPU spending. The city takes out bond issues for BPU projects, just as the city is on the hook if the BPU is unable to pay its bills. State officials get the concept — they’re the ones, after all, who asked the BPU to have the City Council accept the grant since the city will be the entity bonding for the rest of the project’s funding. State officials who can be quite clueless recognize the BPU’s relationship with the city. How does a City Councilman not?

Jamestown residents need a City Council that serves as more than a rubber stamp for Mayor Sam Teresi and city department heads. That means spending time before the meeting so that council members are ready to ask good questions. It means reading email, something we wonder if Mr. Liuzzo is actually doing on a regular basis given that this is the second time in two months Liuzzo has claimed he needs more information about something that had been emailed to him days earlier.

Liuzzo may think his tangents the best way to represent his constituents. He is mistaken. Asking nonsense questions and spouting off about conspiracy theories — as he did last week when insinuating the city’s acceptance of the BPU grant was a step in the city abolishing the BPU board — is nothing but a distraction that accomplishes nothing of consequence.