Friday, November 14, 2008

The Same Old Routine

Councilwoman Stacy Head was right to be upset if our Sanitation Director Veronica White was lying to her about information she wanted to see. I don’t have a problem with her being upset and I am tired of departments in this city not being open about what we are actually paying for. This is not about who's right or wrong. My only concern is that it seems like every few weeks there’s some argument in council chambers and afterward nothing seems to get resolved.

I wish they would just call one another on the phone or walk to each others office and blow off this steam in private. After that they could come out together and have a press conference announcing this great change to the sanitation contract that will save the city millions that we can spend on something else around town. That would be a welcome change from the public bickering. When you argue like that everyone loses sight of the real issue. We have enough anger and outrage already. Just get things done. I know one thing, if my street starts stinking because everyone was too busy fussing to approve the sanitation budget I am going to be pissed and it won’t matter who was right or wrong. If we don’t take the anger and bitterness out of this city we are headed for another election with votes based on anything but competence.

4 comments:

Brian D said...

Cliff,

Even when Council Members have tried the more civil approach you suggest, they get nothing.

On event the most critical issue of accurate crime reporting, Nagin is silent:

http://citizencrimewatch.org/blog/2008/11/12/just-the-facts-please/

The only way the Council has been able to get any information at all is to force Nagin officials to appear before the Council -- an act they can't refuse.

Things are getting done. Corruption is being uncovered. Unfortunately, that isn't the kind of activity which helps the recovery.

The blame falls squarely on Ray Nagin. I can't think of anyone who would tolerate the kind of secrecy and obfuscation Nagin has committed, unless they are in on the deals Nagin has worked out with contractors (ahem, consider the role played by the quieter members of the Council).

Clifton said...

Brian,
I cannot disagree with any of that. I don't know what Ray Nagin was doing with that letter. However, this is a city with preconceived bitterness and anger in many places. If you want to really change government here you have to show the people that they are the ones being hurt and that exposing bad government is what's best for them.

When people watch that on television they don't see a bad sanitation contract. They see Stacy Head arguing with Veronica White and forget the original message. There are some cultural things here no one is taking notice of and it's going to divide the city for nothing.

Migou said...

I agree with both comments. My question is, what is a city councilperson to do when he or she has exhausted all behind-the-scenes options to get information that should be readily available?

Clifton said...

That's a good question that I don't have an answer for. There has to be something better than the present approach.