Did Alison Alter ‘trash’ lawyers?

I only got to watch parts of the City Council’s first public hearing on CodeNEXT yesterday. What I saw was mostly what I expected: a lot of older people opposing it with a smattering of younger people in support. There were of course exceptions, but that was the general theme.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 10.43.36 AM
Barbara Szalay of Lost Creek, sporting a Steely Dan shirt.

Anyway, there are definitely at least a few dozen people in City Hall who will want to buy  Barbara Szalay a beer for these comments. She started off by thanking the mayor and the five other CMs for their “courage” in voting against putting CodeNEXT on the ballot:

Zoning is enormously complex. I believe in 10-1. Each of you, PC, zap and consultants, must deep dive into codenext. I believe voters have not and will not. Even activists simply present vague, non-helpful resolutions such as ‘CodeNEXT is too long.’ I resent having your stance called ‘being against democracy’ and I resent the efforts to obliterate 10-1. Putting CodeNEXT on the ballot will result only in a costly acronym war. The people with the best t-shirts will win. And right now the city t-shirts are really bad, just saying.

She said that Austin is better than Rochester.

Councilmember Renteria, your testimony about getting an Adu was incredibly moving. Prosperity is a good thing. I’m glad your land is worth more. Who wants to live in Rochester, New York, where I’m from where home values haven’t increased in 30 years when you adjust for inflation?

And finally, she had some stern words for Alison Alter:

Council Member Alter, please don’t trash my legal profession. You wouldn’t like it if I said today I’m so grateful not to have a PhD in political economy and call myself doctor so people think I’m the kind of doctor who actually helps people. You were happy to listen to lawyers who agreed with you.

Ouch. This is not an unusual critique of Alter, but it’s the only time I’ve seen it made publicly. Former CM Sheri Gallo, Alter’s opponent in 2016, was a tad more cryptic, once began her closing remarks at a debate with, “I may not have a PhD…”

Anyway, She is referencing comments Alter made during the debate over putting CodeNEXT on the ballot last week:

Full disclosure, I’m not a lawyer and thankfully didn’t become a lawyer. I also do not sit on a judicial body here.

Oh come on, it was just a joke. Hardly a sincere “attack on the legal profession.”  I think the lawyers will be OK.

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