Beutler cracks the whip on developers
I was surprised to read that our fearless leader, Mayor Chris Beutler, allowed the city attorney’s office to sue six developers for not putting in streets, sidewalks and all the accoutrements that go along with a new subdivision.
After all, Beutler has spent much of the past four years kissing up to developers, to the point where he sometimes seems more like a Republican than a Democrat. From handing out TIF like it’s candy to freezing impact fees to spending millions to build a new space for permitting and planning at city hall, Beutler has worked hard to reverse Lincoln’s reputation for being anti-business. He even tried, but failed, to create a local housing stimulus program of his own.
It seems to have worked, in that nobody appears ready to challenge Beutler for his job this spring. The Democrats are just so excited to have an elected official in place that they probably wouldn’t care if he did everything but change the D behind his name to an R. And the Republicans don’t have much they can complain about, since Beutler usually behaves like one of them on development issues.
But now comes word that the city is suing developers for not doing what they said they were going to do. They probably should be held accountable, even though these are tough times for developers.
Still, just a few months before the election, it seems like a risky move. Then again, Beutler also approved a fire contract that gives firefighters up to 10 percent raises, in a final gift, just in case he doesn’t get re-elected, perhaps. He’s behaving like a man who’s not too worried about winning.