Monday, July 4, 2011

BS #37: Switching Problems?

BlogSpasm #37...July 4, 2011

When a problem exists in business, steps are generally taken to gather the facts, make decisions and then act to prevent further disturbing occurrences. The issues causing the problem are resolved...even if personnel are let go. If only the same was always true in politics.

Irving voters may be on the verge of witnessing the ultimate “bait-and-switch” job by a politician. This could be a first for an Irving city council election.

From the beginning: The problem that voters recently whisked out of office was a mayor bent on saddling city coffers with a $250 million voodoo financed Entertainment Center. Sure, other issues involving McDougalville, increased taxes and fees, city manager making more than the president of the USA, and character assassinations were thrown into the mix and contributed to the mayor’s defeat. In essence, voters wanted a fresh and accountable start on all these issues and eliminated one of the primary sources of the problem through the ballot box. And that’s the way it should be.

With this in mind, one could reason that voters might be intent on continuing to clean the council-slate of those who have been part and parcel to the problems plaguing city hall. At least, that’s what the staff of the CCR perceives from some of the correspondence received. Clean slate = good. Same personnel = bad.

In the next city council election (May, 2012), three slots will be open: Lewis Patrick, District 4; Rick Stopfer, District 6; and Joe Philipp, At-large. None of these individuals are eligible to run for re-election in their respective slots due to term limits as established by the city charter. However, there may be a slight loophole in the city’s charter.

If the city charter addresses term limits for an individual with reference to their place of service and not their overall length of service, then one of the individuals who has been on the Entertainment Center, McDougalville and other contra-voter items might be considering the “switch” half of the old bait-and-switch game.

A technicality does not permit Joe Philipp to run in the slot being vacated by Rick Stopfer, since Philipp actually lives in District 5. However, Rick Stopfer could run At-Large when when he vacates his current District 6 seat.

The District 4 seat will have new blood, since Patrick has indicated that he is going to retire from the klieg lights.

Aside from the charter conundrum, will voters want to see an individual (Stopfer) who has been associated with the wrong-thinking these problems have created play musical-council chairs? Of course, voters have recently been very astute when considering candidates based on their track records.

Maybe, voters know what council folks fail to understand. Switching council seats probably isn’t the answer to problem-solving that the voters might want to see.

Should this self-serving train be derailed before it leaves the station? All aboard?

………….Mark Holbrook