Councilman Ed Robinson was the swing vote in killing a resolution for a new city basketball complex on the north side of Florence today. Despite the resolution being presented about 6 months ago, there having been 2 work sessions since its introduction and the council ordering the City Mgr to come up with the proposal within 90 days, Robinson wasn't ready to vote on it yet. After his motion to defer the matter lost 4-3, Robinson voted against the resolution. (Robinson, Powers, Brand and Willis voted against it while Ervin, Williams-Blake and Mayor Wukela voted in favor of the resolution).
“When it comes down to doing this gymnasium it needs to be the best, just like with everything else we do,” Robinson said. “To commit to that, I don’t think its something we can do. I don’t think we can afford it without giving people false promises.”
Take a second to read that. Robinson, who is now running for Mayor on a campaign decrying the disparity between North & East Florence versus the West & South side of town,* doesn't want to build the gym because he only wants "the best." Uh...it's a proposed $4-$7million facility, Councilman. It would immediately be one of the nicest basketball complexes in the region and certainly one of the nicest projects to grace the North side of town in quite some time.
The simple truth is that Robinson does not want the city to move forward with this project as it would hurt his campaign narrative that the City has done nothing for his side of town. Robinson's contention that he's concerned about it hurting other funding to neighborhoods is just as much of a smokescreen as his concern about the quality of the facility proposed. The city already has money in the budget for that type of funding. Robinson is simply doing what he does best and what he's done for all his years on council: looking out for his best interests. And this man wants to lead the entire city...
*Interesting enough, this was a disparity Robinson conveniently ignored when he publicly endorsed former Mayor Frank Willis 4 years ago. Willis, you may recall, unconvincingly claimed not to see such disparity when presented with precisely that argument from Mayor Wukela during their election. Nice to see Robinson has at least finally discovered the blight and poverty over in East & North Florence. Suppose late is better than never. Of course, we're sure Robinson finds no irony in the fact that one of the most neglected districts in the city is the one he has been representing for about 20 years.