Forget that idea to move City Hall south to Warm Springs. The City Council nixed that proposal tonight after a lengthy debate that actually included a bit of drama.
All eyes were on Mayor Bob Wasserman, who in July surprised just about everybody by supporting a proposal from Councilmember Dominic Dutra to study moving City Hall south adjacent to the Warm Springs BART station.
It felt like the entire two hours were devoted to changing Wasserman’s mind, leaving Dutra and his ally Councilmember Sue Chan one vote shy of the three needed to get the city to pay for a study.
First, top city employees warned that moving the civic center could decrease the value of city-owned property in the downtown area, where a new civic center has been proposed.
Then, the city’s consultant told Wasserman that a development in Warm Springs near the former NUMMI plant likely wouldn’t need the new City Hall to be successful, but the downtown proposal sure could use it.
Then, the city’s private development partner for the downtown warned Wasserman that he might not be interested in sticking around if the city hall complex proposal was moved to Warm Springs.
Finally, top city staff basically told the mayor that they’d have to postpone completion of the plan to revitalize downtown if the council wanted to study moving City Hall to Warm Springs.
And that pretty much did it. The mayor, who I’m not sure realized that the meeting was mostly about him, didn’t want to be a plan killer. Dutra understood he no longer had a council majority, so he didn’t even call for a vote on whether the city should study moving City Hall. Thus, City Hall will stay in the center of town, within striking distance of Russel Shaffer’s bees.