I have just returned from the City Council meeting where they voted to raise our property taxes again for the second time in two years.
This was not a surprise. We saw it coming and we heard some disturbing comments over the weeked which we decided to hold back. We held them back because we wanted to see if the council members would prove those statements wrong. They didn't.
Last weekend, it was brought to our attention that local lobbyists were caught laughing at an event about the tea party bringing people to the city council chambers. They said, "They can bring 1,000 people down there and it will not make a difference. The deal is done."
It appears those lobbyists were right.
Here's what the lobbyists and our city leaders do not understand.
Scott Rasmussen, an independent pollster, stated recently, "The Tea Party Movement is not a flash in the pan, as many have assumed. Nor is it a movement of racist rednecks and ignorant boobs, as its detractors have crudely suggested. To the contrary, it is an authentic grassroots movement of concerned American citizens demanding to be heard by an out-of-touch political establishment. Their concerns are real and their issues are legitimate."
When you showed up last night and voiced your concerns one after another in a professional and dignified way - you let the city leaders know the Tea Party Movement has come to town. While we have focused most of our efforts on the federal level, it is now apparent we must spend some time with our city leaders too. They evidently do not understand their job has changed because the economy has changed. We do not have money to burn and if we are cutting at home, they should be cutting too.
Candidly, I wanted to poke my eyes out a couple of times as I watched the questions asked and people scurrying to find the answers and then watching them explain that we can't do this because of this and because if you do this this will happen and then you have this and if do that then we have to do this. I understand why the city council members caved!! They could not get a straight answer from anyone. And they call us "ignorant boobs!"
There are many complex issues to this budget and many moving parts that even the city council members could not understand. We demand and expect that the budget process and the way our money is spent should be simplified and transparent. It should not require 4 rows of people on hand to explain to the city council what the numbers mean. Nor making calls during the meeting here and there to find out what the numbers mean.
The final vote was 11-7 and here are the votes for 2010-557 (Budget)
Yea: Corrigan, Fussell, Gaffney, Holt, Hyde, Jones, Joost, R. Brown, Shad, Webb, D. Brown
Nay: Bishop, Clark, Crescimbeni, Johnson, Lee, Redman, Yarbough
Please contact those who voted No and thank them.
Please contact those who voted Yes and ask them to put into writing Why they did? They should be willing to do that and if they don't it will tell you alot about them.
So what now? A plan is in the works for continued relationship building and accountability with our city council and other city leaders.
In the meantime, if you have experience in running an organization and have been a success at your endeavors, we encourage you to consider running for city leadership. We will not be focusing on those races until the November election is done. When November 3 hits, we will be looking at local political opportunities and encouraging leaders to stand up and help us fix the financial mess we are presently wallowing in.
If we do not find a way out of the tax and spend mentality, we might as well put a "Closed for Business" sign on the interstate -- because no business in their right mind would want to build a business here.
We wish the city leaders had heard from Rick Santelli who recently ranted again. We're with you, Rick!