Editorial: We have a rare opportunity to fix City Hall. This is how to do it, and to get people’s attention, for one reason or another, they need to be fixed.
The city council is making it easy. It got rid of two non-elected mayor’s and two non-elected city council members. It got rid of the mayor’s budget committee and of council’s budget committee. These were the committees that actually determined how the budgets would be spent. The idea was that, as it happens in most city councils, the two committees would share, and that would happen as required.
The problem is that because these were non-elected officials, no one knew what they were doing. The public is not going to trust these two groups if a non-elected official tells them to do things in a particular way. In the end, the public will have a lot fewer options than we had as a council. The city is going to lose what may make it the strongest city in the west coast. More importantly, the way the city has planned to fix the problem has been the most frustrating in my three years as a city councilor. It has been the most frustrating because the city has been unwilling to listen to, or even consider, alternative ways to solve this problem.
Let me start with the non-elected staff committees. One of them was the mayor’s budget committee. You may have heard about it. The problem with this was, as the city council learned, that the mayor’s budget committee couldn’t be run with the same money as the city council’s budget committee. This, of course, meant the decision in the mayor’s budget committee was always going to be skewed to give the mayor what he wanted. This became a problem when the city council decided that it would have to do some cuts to balance the mayor’s budget.
The city council had to put this decision in the hands of the mayor’s budget committee. In so doing, it put the burden for that decision onto the mayor. When I worked with the mayor, I had more input into his plans than anyone else. I know how he thinks. The mayor has been given an unfiled budget for three years now