Here I am.  Once again wading into ground that I said that I would not wade into.  The soap opera that is “Berry vs The City of Enid.”  I swear, this thing could be a movie.  And nobody would watch it, except the actors in the movie.

 

Not too long ago, I was invited into the Team Berry War Room.  For the first time, I was able to meet Eli Berry.  Eli struck me as a remarkably intelligent guy.  Perhaps even someone I could hang out with and discuss sports with or just about any topic for that matter.  He really struck me as a genuine guy.

 

I had never met Eli’s father, Bob.  So, I asked to meet Bob.  Pretty soon, I was introduced to Bob.  Bob seemed like a decent guy.  In fact, my overall impression of both Eli and Bob was that they were two people who really cared about Enid.  I really feel in my heart they are decent people.

 

Bob began giving me a tour of the place.  Bob showed me some very interesting things.  He had over 8,000 documents strewn around a small room inside the building.  He showed me his unique system for organization.  I got the distinct impression Bob was the kind of guy that could find any document he wanted at any given moment amongst those 8,000+ documents.

 

The reason for the documents was even more fascinating.  Bob was amassing a budget to show people.  What kind of budget you ask?  Well, it was a budget for the downtown Renaissance Project.  He seemed really upset that nobody seemed to realize that this project was going to go over budget.

 

We have all heard varying estimates on what the downtown project is going to cost.  $20+million is the generally quoted number.  Bob showed me the total on his budget and it was around $39 million.  At the time, this blew me away.  It still does.  He even was doing his best to document how he arrived at his numbers.  Some of them came from depositions that had happened along the way during this process.  Some he said came from emails or city documents.

 

I asked them to keep me in the loop and 10 days ago I asked for a copy of the budget.  They weren’t quite ready to release it.  However, they did promise to get it to me as soon as they could.  Their ultimate plan was to make this public and allow anyone who wanted to see it, to be able to see it.  I thought the idea was very admirable.

 

So, not long ago, I received a copy in my email.  They told me they weren’t quite ready to release it just yet though.  During our initial conversation, Bob had mentioned that there 7 people that really needed to see it sooner than the rest.  He meant the commission.  So, my wheels started turning.  What if I could get all these people into the same room and they could look at Bob’s information?  Long story short, there was no way in hell that was going to happen.  I was naive to think that it could.  I think I would have had a better chance of getting Netanyahu and Abbas to agree to a two-state solution than getting these people together.

 

So, on October 4th, I sent the Berry’s and email and asked how much longer I was supposed to sit on this story.  I mean, if true, it’s quite a story.  And I have to admit…I wanted to scoop the local paper.  What’s it called?  It’ll come to me soon I’m sure.

 

So, they sent me an updated budget based upon their most recent findings.  The total was still right at $39 million.  I emailed the budget to City Manager Eric Benson and Finance Guru Jerald Gilbert asking for comment.  The timing could not have been worse.  I sent them the budget literally as they were going into a City Council meeting.  And I told them that I was going to write this article and publish it late on the 4th or early on the 5th.  That gave them absolutely no time for comment or even review of the document.

 

That wasn’t fair.  It really was not.  I want to publicly apologize to them for putting them on the spot like that.  I really felt bad.  And then I began thinking about this whole situation.  I hate it.  I hate what this bullshit is doing to my town.  Everyone believes that either the Berry’s or the City are evil.  Or both.

 

So, I thought about it some more.  And I came to a great solution.  I changed the entire article I had written up.  And to top it off, I am not going to write about this crap anymore.  I don’t like being a “go-between” trying to fix (by trying to set up a meeting) and report (reporting the budget) on this.  And then sucker punching people I respect with numbers and somehow expecting them to magically give me a whimsical, fancy, quote for my stupid article.  When in the end, my article means jack-shit.

 

You know what does mean jack-shit?  Judges.  They can figure this shit out.  I’m just a local news/opinion blogger (really….what the hell is this called?).  So, my conclusions?  I don’t know.  And I don’t know if I care anymore.

 

PS:  Last story ever on Berry vs. City of Enid…until it’s over.  If it’s ever over.