Look, this is how things work at City Hall. The Mayor with an extensive paid staff, works up budgets, creates whole programs and even tries to push forward entirely new initiatives. The Mayor has at beck and call, much in the way of resources and has paid department heads; to get things done.
All these things are then brought forward to city council. It is reviewed and some councilors will tweak at some minor issue here and there. Others will use the opportunity to score political points by criticizing the Mayor or some department head but by and large, most of the programs end up getting approved after much discussion.
It is when the city council has to grapple with controversial issues in which THEY have some control, then they have a real trouble in taking bold leadership.
No longer can they point fingers at the Mayor. Now the limelight is squarely revealing their every move and I might add, their every word.
And they don’t like it.
Nothing makes them more happier than to deliberate and play the city council club, seconding, and making motions and exploring the fine art of Roberts Rules of Order since most of the deliberation (shall we call it scripting) is done out of the public eye using many clever means to set the tempo. In this way, they have decided before they even have to decide, strategize long before they strategize. They know that most citizens will only take notice on one issue only and so great crowds of ‘the masses’ will rarely show up.
What we need is to get more citizens voted in who want to break up this ‘social club’ and try to get things done. It is not healthy when the council runs like a family business with everyone knowing what the other is doing. Then it becomes a monopoly and not a legislature.
Every time the subject of the most fundamental duty of government, protection, occurs; the city council turns tail. Whether protecting the Common Pasture or protecting our downtown or forestalling the New Gentrification with extended demolition delays and LHD ordinances; they fail miserably. Only when no one notices them, do they feel they can function – now that’s a social club not democracy in action. What inevitably happens, their priorities not the citizens comes first. Then we end up with an oligarchy and not a legislative body.
Granted we have city councilors who want to protect but they are being stymied by a block of social clubbers who thwart their action.
The council needs to get the job of protection done and stop cowering from the rays of public scrutiny. You can’t please everyone!