The surge is spearheaded by a government relations consultant and former Ballard aide who landed a $750,000 contract from the city to see that the project gets approved.
The one-year contract with the Bose Public Affairs Group instructs the firm to keep the Democrat-controlled City-County Council updated on the project’s progress, organize community meetings, seek media coverage, schedule news conference and maintain an e-newsletter.
“The ultimate goal of these efforts will be to gain Council approval of the project,” the contract’s scope of services says.
The amount of the contract stunned some City-County councilors, as well as a former public relations consultant.
“Lord have mercy, what a waste of money,” said Democrat Councilor Joe Simpson. “This is ridiculous. This tells me they know they don’t have any support for that center.”
The mayor’s office said the contract was part of doing business for a project as large as the planned justice center.
“Many big projects like this use outside assistance, and it is not unusual to include that as part of the project cost,” said Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Ballard.
The point man for Bose is senior public affairs consultant John Cochran, who managed Ballard’s 2007 mayoral campaign and was a special counsel to the mayor. The firm is a subsidiary of the law firm of Bose McKinney, which traditionally has received little city business under the Ballard administration . . .I'm not sure which is more absurd: the size of the contract; or the fact that John Cochran, an attorney who has never practiced law, has absolutely no training or experience in public relations work. Even Councilor Jeff Miller, a fake Republican who never saw a tax increase or new government regulation he didn't like, had trouble defending the size of the contract. "That is a big number. Now I know why he’s so easy to get a hold of," Miller said. “I knew he was not doing it for free, but I did not know (his firm) was getting that much.” Miller said the meetings had been helpful in generating support on the city's near west side where the administration planned to build the nearly half billion dollar criminal justice system. Area residents see it differently. "Resident Rahnae Napoleon said the neighborhood near the proposed site is far from supportive," Tuohy writes. "We were basically told it was coming whether we like it or not," she said. "We never had voice. We are now trying to make the best of what they are serving up to us."
Does anyone else see the irony in Ballard throwing away $750,000 of our taxpayer dollars on a politically-connected firm which has just hired his likely Democratic opponent next year, Joe Hogsett, and which will in turn invest that money in doing all within its power to ensure that Hogsett defeats Ballard in next year's election?