Saturday, May 19, 2007

Commentary From The Publisher - Phyllis Schaltenbrand

Rubber Stamp Council Busy Fulfilling Pledge To Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

It seems the highest priority among the majority of new City Councilmembers is to not ask too many questions and to not tell people what they are doing.
Our sources tell us that Third Ward Councilwoman Laurie Feldman was particularly upset that news of the Council’s support for buying out former Police Chief Tim Swope’s contract leaked out. Not upset that she voted for it, mind you, just upset that the public found out how she voted. She berated her fellow Councilmembers over leaks to the press.
Here are some recent examples of the new Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell policy at City Hall:
Council supports legislation to “give away” to a citizens committee appointed by the Mayor, the power to set your water and sewer rates and to give out tens of millions of dollars worth of contracts for sewer and water plant upgrades and line extensions.
They just want to RUBBER STAMP the actions of these unelected citizens and blame them when your rates go up. Almost every new Councilmember ran on a platform pledging to not raise any taxes or rates. If our sewer and water rates go up, these Councilmembers will have broken their pledges to you. They are desperately looking for a third party to let them off the hook. We at the First Capitol News don’t intend to.
The Council, also, voted to give the Mayor supreme authority to hire interim department directors without any vote of approval of the Council. In other words, this Council couldn’t even be bothered to deliberate and vote on the merits of a nominee of the Mayor.
The majority of City Councilmembers supported a “gag” rule as a condition for the buyout of former Police Chief Tim Swope so that he could not comment on the details of his leaving. These are not the actions of people who support open government.
Their actions, in supporting the Mayor’s buyout of Swope’s contract cost every taxpayer of this City. One of the first votes of these new Councilmembers (with the exception of Erv Ermeling who abstained) was to WASTE $150,000 of your hard earned tax dollars! They might as well have stacked up $150,000 in the middle of the street and burned it!
First Ward Councilman Richard Veit epitomized the attitude of the slate of candidates elected to give unquestioning support to the Mayor by millionaire developer T. R. Hughes when he said at a recent Council meeting that he wasn’t elected to be “Mayor” of the First Ward, but to be part of a “collective” body.
He didn’t use the word “deliberative” body where representatives would think and act for themselves. He said collective body; a hive mentality where everyone thinks and acts the same and does what they are told.