After watching the mayor’s March 18th fact based presentation on the proposed new animal shelter fall on deaf ears, he did the unthinkable and in his words said to the closely knit crowd of about 60 advocates, “I’m capitulating to the power of passion and the anger of the people to not make a good business decision.” No jubilation came from anyone, probably because nobody understood what was just said, but to the other 27,000 people of Superior it means you just bought yourselves a brand spanking new animal shelter for $2,400,000. Oh yeah, I almost forgot - for 12 cats and dogs.

Nobody ever said that there was only twelve animals being very well cared for in an extremely clean and appropriately sized shelter that the city owns free and clear. They didn’t, that must be an oversight. Well, if you’d have listened to the so called passion of the crowd and the councilors you’d think that these animals are living in filth, starving to death and their needs were not being adequately addressed in this existing shelter. When in fact, it’s just the opposite. The animals are well cared for, it’s the cleanest shelter I’ve ever been in, and with declining demand it's more than adequately sized for a city this large. Not only that, when I was there a very kind worker came down the row, entered each cage and hugged, scratched and loved each dog there - suggesting they all do that! What more can anyone ask of an animal shelter?

I’m obviously missing the case for a new animal shelter. Yes, it is not a huge shelter, but it does satisfy the needs of the strays in this city. Yes, there are several minuscule issues that need to eventually and easily be addressed, but it‘s nothing that our already budgeted city work force couldn‘t handle with a few thousand dollars in materials. Instead of having city crews continue the war on harmless snowbank removal, we could let the start of global warming season take care of that and they could begin the fixes immediately.

There is simply no reason to build a new animal shelter 4-5 times larger than the adequate facility on Catlin Avenue. Almost nothing in this build proposal has been rectified including the all important issue of who’s paying for the up to $320,000 annual operating costs. Judging from the motion of “let’s just go with it because a lot of people are going to work on it” it’s quite obvious, other than the severe need for the council to be educated on Robert’s Rules of Order - for effective and fair meetings, that the council doesn’t give a damn who or how any of this is going to get paid for.

Anyone could spend taxpayer money without concern on how it will be paid for. This is no achievement to feel proud about at all. In fact I’m embarrassed for the council for their lack of fiscal responsibly to the tax paying public. You’re supposed to adhere to being good stewards with our money - it’s the number one duty of being an elected official. If this is the best representation that majority Democrats in Superior habitually elect, then we are all in for a future of financial pain. Mayor Hagen thank you for doing your part, but to avoid sharing in the future consequences for this poor decision, I would ask that you put your veto powers to work and let the council own this entirely. There is simply no place in government for irresponsible spending at any level.

Don Raihala [cat owner]