Sunday, December 2, 2012
Where did council go wrong is the question on most people's minds these days? Going from a democratically elected body, servants to the people, to deciding upon this desperate salto mortale (def. deadly jump) towards tyranny? In creating an insular institution within themselves at municipal hall, held together by an organization built around family, friends, and paid mercenaries (at the exclusion for the most part of long-time residents, community activists, and volunteer organizations), conducting municipal business in secret, pushing through agendas most people don't agree with, or want, while turning their collective noses up at any type or form of dissent, including those of 2,500 residents who recently signed a petition for intervention in our municipal affairs.
From day one, it has been apparent that this is a council that is afraid of the people and therefore they avoid them at all costs, preferring to exclude them from participating by disbanding boards, committees, fire departments, etc., while at the same time when reorganizing making sure to keep out those with experience and knowledge who have been around the block and would call them out on their transgressions. They are so insecure that they tolerate only those who are of like-mind, or feeble and weak in both character and stature. Strength of character and noble of purpose is foreign to them and seen as a threat. Conformity, malleable minds easily persuaded to go along with the program ensuring "unanimous" decisions is what they seek.
Is this good for the Pass? Of course not! Our community has been hijacked by an even split of younger, strong-willed, arrogant newcomers with their big city ways, and older, weak-kneed, long-time residents all of whom are headed by a returning son bureaucrat who spent more of his life elsewhere than here in the Pass teaching and bending students and parents alike, to conform to his will, while suffering the same fate himself at the hands of his superiors over the years, who I imagine he resented with a passion considering how driven he is today with his new found power to bully and intimidate to his heart's content without constraint.
The other questions people are asking themselves is where did we go wrong in electing these people, and where do we go from here?
Where you went wrong, is where you always go wrong. You elect good ol' boys, some new blood and a leader from the professional classes thinking this is the right recipe for good governance, which over the decades has proven you more wrong than right.
As far as where do you go from here? That's simple. Take it back! Take your community back by breaking the mode of the past. By way of Marilyn Milley's Let's talk about change we now know what we don't want from a mayor and council, ever again. It's time to think about what we do want so that we don't get snookered again, like we did this last time.
Too many times in the past we've seen mayors (and some councillors) seek this position for one of two reasons only. One is to get something out of it for themselves and their friends. Two is to treat the position as a part-time, ego-tripping, social affair where the business of the municipality takes a back seat to their hobnobbing with the elites. Once in awhile, you also get a misguided crusader on a mission who not really knowing the community wrecks havoc leaving a trail of destruction behind for the next guy to fix and clean up.
I think it's time for a real change from the status quo. Our next council should be made up of ordinary individuals from all walks of life who want to restore our community of communities to a participatory democracy where residents feel comfortable talking with their elected representatives on council when running into them on the street, or elsewhere. That their opinions, ideas and suggestions no matter their station or walks in life are welcomed, and can be discussed outside the formal trappings of council chambers, over coffee at Timmy's, or elsewhere. That they matter, their voice is being heard and that together, we are stronger than individuals.
What we need are ordinary people person's who have the pulse of the community, can relate to both newcomers and long-time residents alike, understand that we have an aging population (higher percentage of seniors in the Pass than in any other community in Alberta), know that 40%+ of our residents are on low or fixed incomes, that lower taxes and fees are not a luxury we cannot afford but a necessity that must be strived for if we wish to keep our community in tact having both low and high, rich and poor alike, that job creation, especially for our seniors and low-income earners, must be a priority for the next council, and that restoring the 'spirit' of our community must be as well.
We need people who can work together in taking back our community from the bureaucrats, technocrats, professionals, consultants, and know-it-all's, and restoring it back to the people. Back to residents here who built this community utilizing mainly good ol' fashioned common-sense as their guiding principal, which is something we know from experience served them well in the past and will serve us well again in the future. The little guy, the ones who built this community... before the so-called 'experts' came along.
No longer should your privileged station in life or your bank account be the determining factor on whether you attain the high chair, or any chair on council. In fact, learning from experience we should exclude those people as being too establishment. What is needed here is workers, working for the people. Now wouldn't that be a welcome change?
As I've already stated, we need people person's, who know and understand the community and its people, both long-time resident and newcomer alike, have passion and a vision for bringing this community together in a common effort to build a stronger, more prosperous, caring, inclusive and equitable society. That's what we need! We need to get it right next time and we can start doing that by encouraging those in our community we feel would be a good fit in both taking our community back, and forward. Together we can make it happen!
Knowledge comes from learning. Wisdom comes from living.