We heard the word “democracy” bandied about a bit more than usual at last night’s City Council meeting [WoMag liveblog, Telegram article ($)].
To recap, this is what democracy looks like:
- A City Hall where the outside doors are locked after an open meeting has begun so that no additional members of the public can come.
- Five police officers inside, and seven police cars outside.
- A City Council that repeatedly reminds us that they cannot tell the City Manager what to do.
Most of our elected officials chastized the crowd for not coming out in great droves for their own personal pet projects and issues.
If we recall, at the meeting at the Hibernian Cultural Center, the City Councilors chairing the meeting:
- Repeatedly misled the public (I hesitate to say “lied”, because that would imply they knew what they were talking about)
- Interrupted members of the public who came up to speak
- Told people they didn’t want to hear their opinions
If the City Council is wondering why people don’t show up at meetings, perhaps it’s because when people do show up, it’s accompanied by beratings from elected officials, invitations that local law enforcement intervene at the first hint of passion, and repeated reminders that our elected officials are powerless to do anything to dissuade the City Dictator from doing whatever he likes.
You cannot tell people to show up at the ballot box for a referendum in one moment, and then tell them that when they vote for the City Council, they’re voting for a body that has no power to direct the actions of an appointed official.
Unlike many members of the Council, I believe that my representatives can and do make a difference. Why else would I spend many of my Tuesday nights at City Council meetings? Why do they?
I am so proud to be involved in this movement, to be working alongside not only my good friends but also people with whom I disagree on many points. I am so proud that people are showing up at these meetings and voicing their opinions.
And — whatever side of this issue you’re on — I hope you become more informed and involved.
You need to come out tonight to City Hall, Levi Lincoln Chamber, at 7pm. Neil Bluhm will finally present some plans, and we’re interested to see what he says.
Here are other ways to get involved