Gotta love Groucho Marx
"Grouchy," they were, about some on the Council, including Councilman Michael LoPorto, D-At Large, who has a striking resemblance to Groucho Marx, being opposed to the sale of the Marshall Ray building.
On the table was selling the city-owned building to a developer with a proven track record willing to invest $10 million into the historic, falling down structure which could be huge for the city and huge for one its most impoverished neighborhoods. The Council did eventually approve the sale after not having enough votes at a committee meeting last month.
Kevin McCashion and Bill Hart were the lead guys behind it. They and their crew also visited Rep. Paul Tonko's town hall meeting about the president's health care plan wearing the same masks to say they were "Grouchy about Marxism" so it wasn't all about LoPorto.
He - LoPorto not Groucho - ended up abstaining, by the way. But at least he didn't vote no.
That said, a nod goes to Council President Clement Campana and Councilman Gary Galuski, D-District 6, for changing their votes and making it happen. And a nod to McCashion, Hart and the other Grouchy people for putting the pressure on and making it happen.
It really is a win-win-potential win. The winners are the city, the North Central neighborhood and potentially, if somehow the building is deeded back to it's former owner Michael Kitner because he will get one back that isn't falling down. I really don't see that happening but he potentially wins too.
LoPorto does make a good point. Kitner owes the city more than $100,000 in back taxes and he wants Kaufman to pay it off before he gets the building. In a perfect world that would happen. The world ain't perfect and this is the best deal on the table. The city is out some money but the impact this project could have is bigger than that.
In a way you have to give LoPorto credit for holding his own and staying on the Council he was elected to, even if he may not live in the city, given his other problems.