Jan. 8 — To the Editor:

It's not too late to look the McIntyre public benefit gift horse in the mouth. Throughout the myriad McIntyre meetings the inquiry has focused on the final product and not on whether the city should venture down the road of a so-called public benefit gift of the site with federal strings attached.

My view is best summed up in the words of John Russo who said, “what I think the city should do is tell the government to stuff it. Put it on the market and let it be sold”. In all of the meetings, why hasn't the city seriously considered this option. It's not too late.

As it is, the city as potential owner of the land, becomes a de facto developer. By definition, this role corrupts the city's normal duties as the approving authority of development. Witness the city’s expenditure of $90,000 on consultants. Normally these costs are the responsibility of the developer. Not so here.

The city as a so-called public-private partner will have its thumb on the scale when the regulatory boards consider the project. As applicant, city personnel will be prohibited from sitting on the boards. Nevertheless, the regulatory boards will be keenly aware they are being asked to consider a city sponsored endeavor.

And, has the city considered the contingency of bankruptcy of its partner. In the late 1960s the city chose Nelson Aldrich as developer of the urban renewal site that became the Parade Mall. The city's choice then went bankrupt. What are the consequences here of a potential bankruptcy of the city's partner.

Development is a risky business. The city should stick to its role of governance. John Russo is right. Let's examine the mouth of this gift horse.

Paul McEachern

Portsmouth