Friday, September 23, 2005
Also at the Last Council Meeting
He gave a very classy speech. He thanked God, his family, his co-workers - the firefighters - and he acknowledged all of us, the taxpayers who made it possible for him to make a living serving us.
He spoke with grace and humility. Those are qualities we can admire in a leader. Too bad he is in the minority in that chamber.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Council Does Not Disappoint Viewers
Gee, I wonder if our State Rep. Herb Kehrl was watching as Councilperson Burkett said "shame on us (City administration/Council)" for employing a LOCAL laborer who is NOT making a living wage. I guess after the mayor got his cool award from Mr. Kehrl those poor folks barely making a decent living don't really count so much (Hey, its probably just some joe from Manpower so who cares, right?). And where was the rest of the council (Councilperson Compora, especially, after her empassioned speech after seeing a guy with the "Will Work for Food" sign during those past deliberations) where was she when Burkett asked for a second on his motion - perhaps that laborer should carry a sign too. Edwards, Sabo, Guyor - all silent. The only one to agree with Burkett was Councilperson Wetzel and she's not a fan of the living wage for the City. Apparently, again, doing the right thing is different from doing the technically legal thing.
Also last night we got to watch another lawyer employed with our tax dollars do the "lawyer tap dance" regarding another violation of the Open Meeting Act. One interesting thing that came out during Mr. Russow's explanation was his recognition that a special meeting only requires 18 hours notice (which by the way the city manager opted not to do - big surprise) . Perhaps he could clue in his partner, Bill Braunlich, who used an entirely different "interpretation" of the special meeting requirements when trying to defend the city manager's earlier actions this year. These guys sure like having it both ways. Isn't it funny when they do something against the rules or the procedures it has suddenly developed a "gray area" or is "open to interpretation."
Anyway, Councilperson Wetzel never did get a straight answer regarding her question as to when it is ever appropriate for the Council to ignore or circumvent the open meetings procedure. Guess it depends on who is doing the circumventing. And Mr. Russow's comparing Mr. Gerweck's lack of preparation for his used car sale to the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was quite insulting to those folks affected in the Gulf. There appears to be quite a whiff of impropriety with how this issue was handled, especially since this bunch (especially Ms. Compora again) criticized the past administration (including Edwards, Guyor and Sabo oddly enough) for doing things behind the scenes. This one scores high on the hypocrisy meter too.
The citizen Smiths also weighed in last night as well. Smith the Younger is still not thrilled with the ice arena. Part of his argument seemed to be slightly flawed regarding his non-use of the arena compared to the amount of taxes he pays. Well, if I don't have kids can I opt out paying school taxes? As Councilperson Wetzel summed up nicely, the recreation opportunities in the City are one of those "quality of life" issues. It seems funny to me that Mr. Smith wasn't more outraged about the money (where is it coming from, by the way?) this administration has been spending on other "quality of life" projects like the Kentucky Memorial (why isn't there a little Historical Society contribution?) and the "cute" splash park that do not generate any income at all. And you know our mayor, the only good projects are his projects.
Smith the Elder quietly asked Councilperson Wetzel about her decision not to run for re-election - asking her if she could comment on any outside pressure - sadly for our community, her silence in itself was telling.
Last night, the silences (living wage and Ms. Wetzel's situation) were more important than most of what was said.
Could someone please give Councilperson Sabo a dictionary for crying out loud - "common sensical"?
Monday, September 19, 2005
Here We Go Again
The "memo" attached, from the city manager, said that Mr. Gerweck "addressed the deficiencies" in his application and wanted to hold the September sale. He has since held the sale, by the way.
Ms. Manns noted in her memo (dated Sept. 14 - the day of the sale) that she took it upon herself to contact certain council members to get a new approval of Mr. Gerweck's request. She notes that a "majority" of the council members felt it was appropriate to approve his request now. Want to bet on who the "the majority" was and that there was a couple of council members never contacted?
Actually, that is beside the point, since asking council to take action on the phone is ANOTHER violation of the Open Meetings Act. Ms. Manns seems to have great difficulty with understanding that whole concept. Should the county prosecutor take a look at this one too?
She does also note that she contacted Mr. Tom Russow, partner of Mr. Bill Braunlich (the attorney who razzle-dazzled us with his defense of Ms. Manns' actions the last time) and he supposedly OK'd that process.
Well, you may argue that what's the big deal - its just a car sale and on the surface, yeah it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. But, what about the next time? What if they are deciding or reversing something that affects you and it is done again behind-the-scenes? The rules like the Open Meeting Act were enacted for a reason - for the protection of all of us. Ms. Manns justified her actions the last time by saying she was just trying to protect the citizens against an illegal (in her mind) action yet she initiates something even less open. It also seems the height of hypocrisy for certain members of council to extol the virtues of open government, democracy and citizen participation and then willingly participate in this behind-the-scenes vote.
This City Council needs to be held to the same standards and rules as everyone else. Last time Ms. Manns felt justified in taking down someone else's meeting notice arguing over the number of hours it had to be posted but this time, she thought it was OK not to have a meeting at all.
Just imagine if anyone else had done that.
It's item 259 on tonight's consent agenda. Gee, what do you think is going to happen?
Friday, September 16, 2005
Sound like Hizzoner by any chance?
This is actually a description of the President in this week's issue of Newsweek. The irony is that our local Democratic Committee will probably or have already endorsed the current mayor (for a non-partisan position) and they picked a guy with the same "leadership" style as GW Bush.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
From the "Rules Don't Apply to Me" Camp
Part Eight, Title Two, Chapter 838, Section 838.11 Political Signs
(b) Political signs shall not be posted, where allowed, until thirty days before an election and shall be removed within fifteen days after the election.
Hizzoner's re-election signs are already on the LET buses. Let me guess "technically" its OK because its a moving sign or maybe just because its his and he doesn't have to follow rules like everyone else does or then there is the city staffer's suggestion that they will just simply change the ordinance to suit them.
The same city staffer who job it is to enforce that ordinance apparently gets to pick and choose what ordinances he will enforce - wow, isn't that swell? And I know, you'll be shocked, but he said he won't enforce that one. So next time when the City wants to enforce an ordinance perhaps you can opt out or pick which ones you'll follow too.
Ain't it grand to live here?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Man, It Just Gets Better
When the word got out that Sue Wetzel was basically screwed over, Brian Beneteau, who also lives in Preceint 6, was quickly asked if he would serve and it was a good thing too. Because unbeknownst to everyone else Rick Floraday (firmly in the mayor's camp and candidate in Precinct 2 - we'll get to that later) and Linda Compora among others were out collecting signatures for another candidate, Jim Alban, in that precinct. Funny, how they were already out doing that don'tcha think? For whatever reason Mr. Alban, at the last minute, pulled his name from consideration (perhaps to his credit he found he was being used) so Mr. Beneteau is running unopposed (firmly NOT in the mayor's camp).
So with that plan thwarted at the last minute their next plan kicked into gear.
Then it was rumored that the City Manager (with a golly gee folks, I only want to make the city safe from felons serving on council) went to both Chief Michrina and Sheriff Crutchfield and asked for a background check on Mr. Beneteau. Both men replied that they don't do that sort of thing without a good reason (I would imagine that they both realized that her request was politically motivated at best) . One would have hoped that after Ms. Manns got her hands slapped by the County Prosecutor in her role in illegally taking down a meeting notice (also politically motivated but they gave her the benefit of the doubt) she would mind her p's and q's. Apparently she has a learning disability.
Now City Chief of Police Michrina has been ORDERED to do an unprecedented background check on the candidates, most of whom have lived here all their lives. I guess there is a law that allows for background checks but instead of truly protecting the public it is being manipulated and abused for politically-motivated reasons. Apparently City Clerk Charlie Evans heard a "rumor" and felt it was necessary (it is his responsibility) to order a check.
I can only hope that his scope includes the incumbents as well just to keep everything on the up and up. Let's see how Hizzoner and other council members will like the police poking through their private lives as well. I imagine there are a couple of our current council persons who have done a thing or two that while it may not impede their ability to do the job it surely doesn't speak well of their character.
And you know our "professional" City Manager she always says she just takes her orders from her bosses (Mayor & City Council) so does it follow that since they are all facing challenges they have possibly directed her away from her job to run the City to do some political dirty work for them?
This situation stinks and continues to stink. With this current action by the incumbents and their supporters is it possible that they are not prepared to stand on their own record to date and feel the need to try to make personal attacks?
It is time for a CLEAN sweep.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Based on comments and decisions made by some of the leadership in this community I fear I am in an alternate universe where it is OK to stifle dissent, it is OK to stop people from public service if they may disagree with you, it is OK to try to stop meetings. Just what is going on around here?
Sue Wetzel is one of the very few voices of reason and accountability on that council that everyone who watches can attest. So I find it very telling that out of left field (sound familiar?) she is told a day and half before filing that her job is threatened if she files.
I am willing to bet that there is no evidence that Ms. Wetzel has allowed her public service to interfere with her job performance any more than our vaunted part-time mayor.
I direct a huge amount of criticism at the MCCC Board. The college is supposed to a place where students and the community can come to exchange ideas not stifle them. In my opinion the MCCC Board (Bill Braunlich, the mayor's attorney, oh, I mean the City's attorney and Jean Guyor's attorney, oh, I mean the Historical Society's attorney sits on the MCCC Board) needs to get their head out of their collective rear-ends and take a hard look at the direction of the college, what it is really there for, and the not so great management of that institution by Dr. Nixon.
This is truly a sad day for MCCC, a place that is supposed to encourage different ideas and community participation, would pull something like this.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
OK, Back to Work
After watching another of Hizzoner's rants (sorry, explanations) of how he is just trying to save Monroe, a vacation memory popped in my head. A six year old girl was trying to take a picture at an amusement park but she could not get a clear enough shot (without other families enjoying the park) to suit her. She yelled out, much to her mother's embarassment, "People, get out of my way, can't you see I'm trying to take a picture?" Her mother made the little girl apologize and explained that they were there to have fun to and the world didn't revolve around just what she wanted. So every time I listened to Hizzoner go on about how he wants to change things and he is only doing what he thinks is best for the City I think of the six-year old trying to get her way.
"C'mon Habitat, c'mon MASA, c'mon DMBN and DDA get out of my way can't you see I'm trying to take a picture?"