As we've been watching the political process on the national level slide down the slippery slope of negativity, all for the sake of power, I find myself wondering if it starts at the top and trickles down or does it start at the bottom and increase with each step up.
Locally, it has definitely started at the bottom. There is a small patch of land with approximately 100 residents squeezed between Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls. In the recent election the mayor and two incumbents were voted out. It would seem however, in the interim between the election and the swearing in of the new officials, a remaining council member resigned his seat, the defeated mayor resigned and the old council voted her into the vacant city council seat. The newly elected were unaware.
The newly elected are partially at fault, perhaps because of inexperience and perhaps what would appear to be a naive trust. In most places the newly elected mayor would have the privilege of filling the seat. All manner of reasons were given for this end around and none seem to sit particularly well. I would suggest this appears to be a play on the part of the ex-mayor to hold on to as much power as possible. At least that would seem to be the perception from the reporting of the story.
Now let's move over to neighboring Coeur d'Alene. The LCDC, our urban renewal agency, has re-elected the long time chair, who has held the position since the inception ten years ago, and vice chair to another term. Same-o, same-o. What is questionable to me is his request that the board begin mentoring and training a new director. His reason is urban renewal initiatives "require thoughtful dedicated community members who are willing to volunteer their time and talent to make this community to be an even more special place for all of us to live."
My perception? Pompous self-importance. By that criteria, should not the planning commission, even city council have a mentoring and training program for potential members? Well, actually they do. They hand pick candidates and support them to the detriment of those who run and are not in lock step. That is the nature of politics in this community. Perhaps any community though I should hope not.
With LCDC; they have an executive director who earns more than our governor, who should have the ability to guide the board through the intricacies of making good and legal decisions for the use of tax payer dollars. If he cannot, he should not hold the position.
Public officials, on the local level, as well as the national, would be wise to give some forethought as to how their statements and actions will be perceived by the public. It isn't so easy to act wantonly as it used to be. The press does report and bloggers blog. And you know what? People do still read.