Belle Isle and Council Have a Grumpy Evening

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Alpharetta City Hall can be as entertaining as television.  Only, City Hall is not television.

It seems that David Belle Isle has been working hard behind the scenes to develop the Wire and Wood concert into an entirely new animal; one that charges $30.00 a head and one that fills Alpharetta hotels with concert-goers.

Since he sits on the Board of the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau, he has already involved the ACVB, as well as city staff.   They even went to the beaches of 30-A in south Walton County, Florida, to check out music venues and concerts and to gather ideas for the new and improved Wire and Wood.  Mr. Belle Isle also went ahead and got a music promoter involved – Mr. Russell Carter.   Indeed, Mr. Carter was at City Hall last Monday night all ready to sign the contract.

Turns out though, members of City Council were befuddled by the entire situation.  In fact, they really didn’t know much about it until Mr. Carter stood before them.  There were a lot of questions.  “How much is this going to cost the city?”  (I think I heard $80,000 – that’s this year’s magic number, it seems).  “What events are being cancelled, re-scheduled or downsized to make room for this new and improved Wire and Wood concert?” (The chili cook-off and the Alpha Arts Streetfest will see some changes).  “Will the restaurants be allowed to sell drinks outside like they’ve been doing at downtown events?” (No).  “Where will we park the vehicles?”  (Evidently shuttles are the answer to everything).  “Have local stores along Milton Avenue been informed of this?”  (No.)

There were a number of uncomfortable moments during this discussion.  There was a pointed question or two from Donald Mitchell.  D.C. Aiken unleashed his usual verbal lashing, but it was interesting to see it directed toward the Mayor and not the audience.   Indeed, no one on Council seemed happy with the Mayor’s arrogance in deciding he could just do all these things and make all these plans without serious discussion at City Hall.

The Mayor did apologize but with this qualifier – he did it out of his great love and enthusiasm for Alpharetta.  “I’ve been going a hundred miles an hour,” he said.  Seriously, where does this man find time for his lucrative law practice with all the good deeds he is constantly doing for the city?  And he “didn’t even think to involve you, Donald”.   Really?  That’s the kind of respect he has for Donald, a downtown business owner and fellow Council member?

A bigger and better Wire and Wood might be something to consider.   Who doesn’t love music?  And quite a number of us enjoy adult beverages while we listen to music.  So, the specific nature of this event is not necessarily in question, although if you’re trying to bring Music Midtown style to Alpharetta, you need to go re-orient your entire paradigm.  It’s just not the same place.  And you certainly can’t replicate  30-A in Alpharetta.  I mean, where are the beaches?  And where is that one more margarita I’m going to have because I’m on vacation and don’t have anything to do for the next 5 days?

To quote the late, great character actor Strother Martin from the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”  But what we also have is a Mayor who may not be a team player.  

One Reply to “Belle Isle and Council Have a Grumpy Evening”

  1. Excellent summation of the meeting most of which was not captured at all in the newspaper articles about this matter.

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