Ah…it seems that I am always inspired to write after a heated Laws & Rules Committee meeting, and there is good reason for it. If you have been a long-time reader of this Blog you know I have been saying that term limits are something that should be explored and put out to referendum so the people who we govern have a voice in this process. In small city government there should be a focus on what is best for how we look ahead to the future and adapt our government to best serve the community, not the other way around. The platform of letting voters decide on Election Day is no longer valid. Many complain that school elections are slanted because voter turn-out is low and only those ‘in the know’ come out to vote. City elections are no different, especially when many do not follow the day to day follies that can take place at City Hall. About half of the registered voters take part in a local election. Why is this? Could it be many feel that they no longer have a voice because the same career politicians win year after year (how many favors are granted in return?…I’m just sayin)… I also believe that this process discourages new leadership to step up to the plate. When I was interested in the Alderman’s seat it was ‘recommended’ that I wait my turn. How does that encourage new blood and young people who will be the future Leaders of our City?
At our meeting, my proposal was added to the agenda at the last minute without the respect of the Chairman to allow me to properly prepare to address the committee. However I did have copies of my proposal and read it in hopes they would at least discuss it. Not one of them would second the motion allowing it to die on the table, therefore they short-changed the voters the option to decide. Politics? You bet. Who loses? The People. With all due respect, this was not a ‘political stunt’ as another Alderman/Mayoral Candidate put it. I was very disappointed in that comment, I expected more from him. I will continue my commitment on this issue. Another option is adding it to the ballot through public petition; if anyone is interested in that please let me know.
On a final note, the committee chose to change the City Ordinance to discontinue brush and wood pick-up for 3 months during the summer (mid June through mid-September). I understand that the DPW crews are spread very thin, and they do the best they can. However when I asked Supt. Schupp what is going to happen when piles begin to collect on the curb and sit there for days on end, would someone be collecting that, and what message does it send to those who are trying to follow the rules? The answer was, we’ll do what we can, and figure it out as we go. To me, that encourages more confusion and less compliance. I realize we are in a financial bind and there is little money to go around. But if we expect and hope to bring business, tourists, and new residents these services are fundamental, not optional.