As a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we do not endorse candidates for public office. We can, however, remind people of some history when it comes to candidates actual deeds while in office that may be relevant to issues concerning Audubon Park, especially development issues.
One of this organization's biggest concerns with the new golf course plans way, waaaaay back in 2001 was the proposed new "clubhouse", which as we all know was really planned as a new restaurant in Audubon Park. However, our city's zoning code still expressly outlaws restaurants in Audubon Park outside of the zoo. This is why the zoo perimeter had to be expanded to accommodate the Tea Room when it was built in 1999.
On March 21, 2002, ANI CEO Ron Forman stood up before the City Council and stated that the clubhouse "is only for golfers and no one else." These claims were repeated in July 2002 in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustments as well, when the ANI insisted that since it was not to be a full-service restaurant, only a "food service facility servicing golfers", it required no zoning variance to be built in the park. In January 2003, ANI COO Dale Stastny testified under oath that NO non-golf related functions would be allowed in the building, weddings and wedding receptions specifically would not be permitted in the clubhouse, and that if someone asked to hold such an event in the clubhouse, they would be told "no".
We all know the "true" truth now, of course. Even in these days of seemingly constant revelations about public officials' misinformation and misdeeds, it remains truly disheartening that this restaurant was built on such a foundation, by those entrusted with the stewardship of Audubon Park, and with our public money to boot.
These people have the support of Jay Batt.
In 2002, after famously accusing incumbent councilman Scott Shea of "flip-flopping" from his campaign position on numerous issues, Mr Batt promptly flip-flopped himself after winning the election runoff on March 2, 2002. During the campaign, he supported the neighbors in their dispute against the Audubon Nature Institute's plans, saying that the inadequate public notice by the ANI was "intended to pull the wool over your eyes and get it done before you knew," and agreeing with critics that the plan "was steamrolled through" and should be readdressed by the City Council. However, after Batt's first post-campaign fundraiser was held at the Audubon Tea Room, he flip-flopped right over to the dark side and went on the attack against critics of ANI.
Jay Batt claimed during the 2002 campaign, as he does now, that he supports adherence to the city's Master Plan and Zoning Code and to taking planning and zoning decisions out of the hands of politicians. However, promptly after taking office, he scuttled City Council Resolution 02-192, which directed the City Planning Commission to carry out an expedited review of the entire Golf Course renovation project, with particular reference to its conformity with planning guidelines and the city's Master Plan. Mr Batt's excuse was that it was a "bad idea" for one city agency (the City Planning Commission) to "oversee the work of a parallel city-empowered commission", a precedent that doesn't bode well for holding the Audubon Commission accountable for adequate citizen input and participation in its development plans.