Thursday, December 13, 2012


This week's City Council Meeting was cancelled in favor of a Holiday Pity Party for the City. The announcement went out as a letter from the Mayor published in the "Official Organ" and in typical CoD fashion it was a day late. While word seems to have gotten around and it was clear that this party would be BYOB it was nonetheless crashed by the usual suspects.

A key party theme was apathy and those most loudly protesting citizen apathy seemed to have recently unwrapped that little present so often found at the bottom of a bottle of scotch: memory loss. To be fair, it could be early onset alzheimer's or in some cases ordinary senility, but we in The Other Dunwoody are romantics--we're going with the scotch theory.

What these particular whiners seem to have completely forgotten is that were it not for apathy there would be no City of Dunwoody. Less than thirty five percent of eligible voters said "Yes" on the referendum whilst a vast majority simply stayed home (or were on vacation) or worse yet raised their voice in opposition. But this was intentional Abuse of Apathy by Calendar Manipulation and it suited the purpose of some of these very same whiners so that was just fine. Now these boo-birds squawk because their zoning re-write meetings are poorly attended. Then, in justification of "All Things Unpopular We're Doing Anyway" these intellectual bipolars wave around  some "Master Plan" while acting like a certain mustachioed Austrian in mid-30's Germany only to claim it is the "Will of The People" because a few hundred of their closest buds had a bit of a say-so way back when.

Gotta reconsider the scotch theory. This is beginning to smell of absinthe.

They also seem to have forgotten anything taught in a civics class. If they ever took one. In spite of the fact that they are willing participants in one they seem profoundly clueless about the nature of "representative government". They apparently have never been to the Clue Store over at the mall to pick up a copy of the best seller entitled "Why You Were Elected". It's a quick read, if you can read, and it clearly states "You were elected to represent your constituents in the People's Business". So the electorate has the expectation that you know what they want and you will work towards their goals because that's why they elected you. So when you don't, they rise up in opposition. Is that really so hard to understand?

This how-to guide also details invaluable techniques for proactively maintaining contact with those you serve, preserving the integrity of your office, playing by the rules (often of your own making) and keeping your oath. There is an entire chapter explaining how representative governance is not a full democracy (or the Master Plan would have been on a ballot) and how the electorate has delegated their voice in government matters to you and how you are responsible for being their proxy. The concepts are as simple as they are important but seem somehow elusive.

But be forewarned. Were one actually interested in figuring out that "representative government" thingy, there is something important to keep in mind: knowledge acquired thru study must be acquired in the same state of sobriety as will be the case when that knowledge is to be used. Pour your drinks accordingly.

But the real purpose of the Pity Party was to soothe the City's bruised little self esteem. They may not know much but they know for damn certain they don't get the respect they want. The problem, the one represented by the red-shirts, is that they're actually expecting more respect than they've earned of late and they don't seem to realize they've taken out a huge unsecured loan from the Bank of Public Trust that they are underwater on and have no hope of paying back. They're bankrupt and don't seem to know it.

And the reasons for the current respect deficit were on fine display. Citizens, who council and mayor are sworn to serve yet are so out of touch with, are allowed three minutes, on a timer, for public comment. No audience reaction allowed. No "two way" dialogue. No questions asked. And also no recognition from the bench of how this actually DISCOURAGES public interaction and FOSTERS the appearance of apathy.  And they wonder why folks all but boycott their cliquish little meetings.

While the rules for citizen participation are clear and well enforced no meaningful restrictions prevent council from making snide, derogatory comments immediately after or even during those one hundred and eighty second allotments. Yet they think they've earned respect.

We may have to up the ante to bathtub gin as these folks are doing a mental Jake Walk.

It gets even more odious. Council are permitted the bully pulpit, uninterrupted, with no time limit. Twice. This can and has been used to berate the public--you know, the one they complain about being oh so absent. And they demand proper decorum from what few citizens show up for these abusive bemusements about why they, the council, the mayor, just don't get their props from the peeps. Perhaps they should install kneelers for the audience so The "Little" People will know where they really stand in the eyes of their public servants.

There oughta be a law and it oughta be a dram law.

And finally, in all seriousness and with all due respect for the Office each elected official holds, there are many orphaned adults in Dunwoody and they did not elect any of you to replace either dead parent so please keep your public performances in line with what is consistent with honorable public service rather than what one would expect from an abusive alcoholic character in a Pat Conroy novel.