Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Escalation Of Arrogance

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.


Anonymous said...

Good post Mari, but I don't understand the significance of the Huetter maze. Is Neighborhoods, Inc muscling in or another developer in line to profit before the newly elected could be seated?

It takes time to terraform a conscientious citizen into a lock-step 'yes commrad' that can be trusted with the rubber stamp. Way too much money is at stake.

The sooner the general public understands gentrification and the Sun Valley model LCDC 7 Jobs Plus is following, the better the odds the mess can be remediated. If not accomplished soon, those families who make less than $25,000 annually will risk dispossession. Retired seniors living on SS fixed income will be the next Bellwether

Word Tosser said...

Then they wonder why we are cynical and don't trust them...and horrified because we question their actions...
When things don't look right, they usually aren't

Bill McCrory said...

For many years in Coeur d'Alene no one questioned who did what and how it was done in city government. That resulted in a Mayor and City Council who could and sometimes did act impulsively without considering adverse consequences. If someone dared question those in authority, their employer got a visit or a call from a not-so-friendly council member. Problem solved - dissent squelched. That still goes on, but it's less and less effective. City employees must be careful, because the culture of intimidation and retaliation still exists at Coeur d'Alene City Hall. But some of the honest city employees realize that to allow the culture to continue will be counterproductive to the long-term credibility and viability of the city administration. Mary Souza's newsletter is a good effort to provide additional information, not the end-all and be-all, but additional information the city thoughtfully chooses not to burden us with. She has alluded to a webpage as well. The city administration will be apoplectic, but free speech and the right to petition for redress of grievances is something even the city must accept. Interfering with either right is a violation of a constitutionally protected civil right.