‘When push comes to shove it’s no longer love,’ wrote one pundit about the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. The author could just as well have been reflecting on the relationship between elected officials and the citizens to which they once-and-again promised to be true.
How much the public viewpoint actually matters to politicians always comes to the fore at election time.
“You (the citizens of Lakewood) matter, and the spending of your tax dollars matters,” writes John Simpson, candidate for city council.
However, it is one thing to subscribe to pre-election platitudes – pleasing to the people from whom votes are sought – and then, successfully elected to represent those people, those people discover too often those promises all for naught.
“Citizens matter, and they particularly matter when it comes to spending tax dollars in which they have a stake,” writes former Lakewood City Council member Walter Neary in his blog recently.
Fine words. Fine words. But behind the accountability-curtain another modus operandi is at play.
As “the Lakewood City Council continues to spin its wheels over asking voters to approve a fee or tax for street maintenance,” the Tacoma News Tribune reported this past July 9, there are a significant number of council members who have declared they would by-pass the voters if those voters don’t like the council’s proposal, essentially slamming those spinning wheels into forward drive even while grinding the gears – and the teeth – of the citizens.
“Council members have repeatedly pledged that voters will decide whether the district assesses a tax or fee.”
More fine words.
But that was then and this is now.
Now, “McGovern-Pilant, who will leave office at the end of the year, said the council should cut to the chase and approve the $20 fee without going to voters. Whalen and Mayor Don Anderson expressed a willingness to do that if voters rejected the measure the council finally agrees on.”
To find out what the council agrees on – that you the citizen may not agree with – and to put the best face on what is apparently a foregone conclusion, the council is contemplating a survey to test the citizen’s opinion about which at least three of them have already decided what your opinion should be.
When council wannabe’s wanted your vote did they hit the street and knock on your door? But once elected and concerned as they say they are about how you’d like your tax dollars spent, a survey suffices? A survey, about which I’ve written before, that typically serves the purposes of the surveyors having, as they’ve now most clearly indicated, a pre-determined outcome?