While I relish the challenge of sustaining the case that wine is a perishable food (item 19), I have bigger fish to fry. While it did require attendees to stay beyond midnight, the extensive discussion of the consent agenda last month proved a welcome diversion from past practice, where millions of dollars of spending would be approved sans questions, sans discussion, sans anything.
Case in point, Item 07.B.2)a) Firearms for Homeland Security Training Center. Change orders regarding the construction of said Training Center were also discussed.
Which brings me to my main concern: Why Homeland Training Center (aka Homeland 2) at all? At the April 2013 Board meeting, mention is made of Phases 2 and 3 of the Homeland Security Training Institute and I quote, “Given the size and scope of this initiative, these next phases are not currently anticipated to be located on the College’s campus.” I have to ask, what changed?
In the July 2013 minutes it is noted that Trustee Savage requested a business plan for Phase 2. It is not recorded anywhere if such plan was produced. It is unclear if such plan even exists. Entering the search term “business plan” into the COD website returns nothing material. If a multimillion dollar venture is under consideration using public funds, should not some kind of justification (business plan) be available for public review?
Lo and behold, come October 2013, contracts for architect and project management are approved and the Homeland train has left the station. No question, no discussion, no nothing. In six months it went from off-campus to all-guns blazing on campus. But why is it going at all? What relevance to the education of District 502’s residents (COD is a community college) does it have?
While the Waterleaf has recently come under intense scrutiny, a connection to the culinary program can be made. Modest changes could make that connection stronger; what many have argued for these past years. I fail to see how the same justification can be made for Homeland 2. To wit, more than 30 sections of Criminal Justice classes are scheduled for fall 2015 – perhaps 1,000 students. How many of them have cause to use the shooting range? Exactly, none.
The aforementioned firearms PO includes 8 weapons supposedly for a Concealed Carry class. How many sections of this class at 8 a shot are required to pay the mortgage? How many police forces, none of which has any money, will need to rent it out?
I have no data but my intuition tells me that the community is considerably more interested in eating things than shooting things. Will the taxpayers be on the hook to pay for this monument to hubris and delusion? Will this rectangular box on the west campus be another costly byproduct of the arrogance of mismanagement?