Thursday, May 22, 2014

Who And What They Are Afraid Of

The short answers are:
  1. you and 
  2. ceding power. 
What brings this to the fore is the chazerai over the City Charter re-write in particular the part regarding establishment of a fire department or taking over any service provided by the county and assuming the associated costs with a simple majority of votes on council. To be clear it would be a simple majority of a voting quorum of council. 

Proponents of the re-write including some architects of the original charter argue that the Council already has this authority and have consulted legal counsel under the gold dome to bolster that claim. Opponents respectfully (or maybe not so respectfully) disagree and do not hold in high regard distant lawyers in the ATL offering rulings on the promises of a responsive local government.

But the proponents' argument is a deflective obfuscation. The real issue is (or should be) "is this the best we can do?" Why did they not take this opportunity to add to the charter a referendum requirement to cover these extraordinary commitments on behalf of the citizens? Why instead have they chosen to deny citizens a meaningful say? Is this really their idea of "responsive local government?"

That none of this has been openly debated is at the very heart of the current disagreements. This City was sold by our newage touchy feely "we're your neighbor" politicians on the promise of a "local government that is more responsive". This has turned out to be little more than typical political PR based on an incomplete comparison (more responsive than what? A VA hospital?) and further begs the question of to whom this government responds.

Consequently we have absolutely no hope of ever hearing a coherent explanation as to why it is so bad that citizens weigh in with a meaningful vote before the City moves forward on expensive endeavors that directly affect our lives in Dunwoody. After all if these proposals are such good ideas then surely the voters in this Smart City will be all in. When the idea is bad, as with the Parks Bonds, citizens' collective smarts can keep this City from making horrific mistakes. 

In the absence of intelligent discourse we are left to assume that politicians don't see it that way. Rather they see their authority and power being usurped by the ballot box and act as if the only intelligent thing the voters ever did or ever will do is elect them. Our current crop of politicians include those who (over) sold us on citihood with the promise that we'd have local control with a government "just down the street." They lied. They broke their promises and when given the chance to repair the damage by adding to the city charter a referendum  requirement they chose instead to slap citizens in the face by saying "it's always been this way we're just making it official so you morons can 'get it'."