Sorry, Mike. I think you are well meaning here but incorrect on this matter.
I'll take just one issue of your essay as others have addressed others.
To say the city needed to take the woefully bad, and as judgment I'll say arrogant, approach they did to avoid a "slam" up against a Federal deadline is just wrong in my view. Although it is the City's propaganda line, it is incorrect, it seems to me.
First, the Feds did not mandate that deadline. The city entered in an AGREEMENT (there's a difference) in 2002 to have the work done by February 2012. And yet for until later into 2009, the city staff (and council) simply ignored their agreement. La dee dah...sounds sort of like how they mis-managed their DOJ AGREEMENT on the 2004 to 2014 horizon for the curb ramps too.
When the city staff woke up in 2009 about the fact this AGREEMENT they made was not optional, they started selling the line that "The Feds made us do it" regarding their current proposal. As in, we need to do this this way or face a fine in 2012. But in fact, by that point the city staff was already re-negotiating to push out the agreement with the Feds to 2014.
So, the fear tactic used by staff to instill on naive folk that they had to take their bad path or face Federal wrath by 2012 was all a part of the ruse.
Others who oppose the city's path for the current SWIP testified before council using examples of other things to show, document, that the staff was using misleading data and misinformation with the public on this matter.
Our city manager and public works staff and sadly some on council all are smelling a bit "ripe". In particular our city manager and Mr. Capell, both of whom have behaved in a way so denigrating to the folks who question this that it is unacceptable.
I respect your passion in local government issues, Mike.
- Michelle Romeo