A Strange Council Meeting

September 23, 2008

A lot of emails, calls and comments on this blog about the city council meeting last week (9-15-08). It was an interesting day to say the least! I recommend anyone that can, to get a tape of this meeting and watch it- watch a true tug of war between trying to make progress and trying to stop progress. Really an example of government inaction- fortunately though the end result continues to keep projects alive (more on this coming in a new post soon).

Now I know there are many definitions of progress, and I certainly understand there are many who disagree with me on my definition and my stance on some of the big issues facing our city. However, as mentioned all over this blog, my main stand and my main reason for running for council is to stop the trend of debating issues to death, where either no action occurs, or if action occurs, it is over-turned at the next election, or perhaps even worse, if action occurs the end product is significantly whittled down due to a prolonged debate such that the result has nothing to do with the original intent and ultimately the project is doomed for failure.

Win or lose on issues, I will not constantly fight to overturn clear decisions made be an informed council with public input and open debate.

I have sat on these comments about the meeting for a week- my first reaction may have been a little extreme and full of frustration.

I really cannot understand the approach of Mayor Bowers and Vice Mayor Lea and cannot answer the question as to why they did what they did.  When you look at any conceivable purpose behind their motions on Countryside and on the Amphitheatre it just makes no sense- other than a clear attempt to be political: to show their strength and a possible new majority on council. That has to be it- the issues didn’t seem to matter to them, the loss of money didn’t seem to matter to them, the fact the people they were listening to on the amphitheatre didn’t even like how they wrote their motion (community vs commercial amphitheatre- everyone wants a commercial amphitheatre- its the location that was at issue- perhaps they should listen better!) didn’t matter to them, the fact that they did not want to hear a soon to be finished and paid for intensive study on the amphitheatre didn’t matter, the fact that council had already decided to keep countryside a golf course and was planning to send out a request for long-term management of am 18 hole golf course didn’t matter, the fact that this came up quickly and was not an agenda item until late the week before didn’t matter, and the fact that they did not talk or return phone calls to many council members didn’t matter.

Yes I have been on a voting majority on council but when a controversial vote was coming, I called and asked to meet or talk with every council member whether or not I thought I had the votes. I felt it worth the time and the courtesy for them to understand my perspective and for me to understand their views on the issue. This happened several times over the last few years and every council member met or spoke with me except councilman Wishneff who never returned calls. The old thought of get to four votes and stop calling just does not sit well with me. I see the attempts on their part last week as “pay back”- “see how it feels, now we are the majority and we can overturn past progress.”

Win or lose, we need to work together, communicate together and hopefully show the world that we can make decisions and move on. As Mayor Bowers has said- “take a deep breath and move on”. Trust is a big issue- a lot of trust was lost at this council meeting. The purpose of our retreat in a week is to work on process, decision making on issues, rfp process, relations with administration, and moving forward for the sake of our citizens and the future of our city.  As seen on My Purpose page above, I plan to remain dedicated to moving this city forward in a progressive and informed manner and hope to work with the entire council over the next few years in order to do so.

My true hope is this was an odd bump in the process encouraged by uninformed back room rhetoric with the last campaign fresh in their minds- but is done, tried and won’t be repeated too soon.

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