Recalling the acrimonious campaign leading up to our current city government, it seemed reasonable to bring back a visual reminder of those halcyon days. The promises of the new administration were, to the noncritical eye, about as controversial as “feed the children,” and “hug a puppy.” Point by point, though, especially in retrospect, they’re suspect.
We’re five months into the new system. The first point – “Rebuild trust & sense of community” – has to be weighed against the others. To begin with, what are we doing about “Revitalize downtown” under the current administration that wasn’t already being done under the former administration? The same question applies to “Fix entrances & roads.” If the budget is so tight that painting a wall in city hall has to be explained in the local paper, how are entrances & roads going to get any extra attention – gnomes?”
It looks to the casual observer that budgetary priorities have gravitated toward hiring political allies, dismissing political non-allies and making city hall pretty. Laying off two employees without warning who coincidentally supported the other candidate during the election doesn’t impress the casual observer that the decision will rebuild trust or a sense of community. It feels more like “establishing order and discouraging dissent.”
There has never been an explanation of the case for if or how tourism will be stimulated by free Wi-Fi. Its proponents just look at you in disbelief when you openly question the benefits. Then “fishing, hiking & biking” are separated from “free Wi-Fi downtown by a semicolon.” Usually that indicates that the two clauses are related somehow. Fishing, hiking & biking do not require government involvement of any kind. They also don’t require Wi-Fi, which is good since they largely aren’t considered “downtown” activities. The relationship of those two clauses is hard to establish. It’s also hard to imagine a city government doing much good for “fishing, hiking & biking” or “Help our kids with ball fields for baseball & soccer,” when energy and time are required to point fingers over the cost of a rug.
Finally, “Let’s work together to get things done,” is a lovely sentiment. It’s almost June. If we’re going to work together to get things done, how about if the mayor lays out a plan and communicates to the citizens exactly how she intends to do all the stuff that was promised, and what our involvement in the effort should be. Now would be a good time to start that since we’re coming into the season where we might actually benefit from increased tourism.