The man with the Guitar Lamp plan no longer operates a retail business from his prominent homestead in downtown Merriam, but he’s still got that huge display window. You know, the one he’s employed time and again to poke fun and embarrass fellow politicians and serve up sundry PG13 scenescapes.
And guess what? It’s back in action!
The point of Leap’s current display: to lob a few political grenades new Merriam mayor Ken Sissom’s way. Sissom, you may recall, nosed Leap for the job this past spring.
But back to the display…
“During the campaign, two things Sissom campaigned against or took issue with were the (ghost mall) developers not doing anything and the lack of leadership by the previous mayor,” Leap says. “And that, that caused the council to have several four vote (tie) splits on key issues. And that both Merriam Pointe and Merriam Village are empty.
“And so far, now that he’s gotten in office, he’s voted to give Merriam Pointe a three year extension. So how’s that helping anything? He broke a tie vote to give them an extension on their contract and I voted against it.”
Not that Leap doesn’t want to see the city’s spanking new but totally tenantless malls succeed, but would they at least pay their property taxes owed?
“I told the developers in the meeting that they should have already paid their property taxes, but they’re delinquent $200 and some thousand on their property taxes,” Leap says. “And they basically said they weren’t going to pay ’em unless the city gave ’em an extension. And that’s not how it works – they have to pay ’em anyway.”
For the record, the developers paid their delinquent taxes after getting the extension, Leap says.
“Who wouldn’t?” Leap says.”But they should have paid them on time extension or not. So basically the city’s bribing them to pay their taxes and rewarding them for their failure to successfully develop the mall.”