Tuesday, January 15, 2008

gub-ment (wish I'd paid more attention in school)

* Warning - I'm not a political expert, and most of this is probably misunderstood and entirely wrong.

So Decatur's government has an opportunity to change coming up. A group of people who view our current "weak-mayor" system (City Manager) as antiquated and ineffective, are pushing to change to a "strong-mayor" system. Currently, the city is pretty much run by our City Manager, who seems like a nice guy (although he needs a friendlier picture, maybe one in his favorite scuba outfit?), but was not elected by the people. Not to discredit him...looking at his biography, he's had some impressive titles, and gotten degrees, etc. He has quite a bit of power, and it leaves our current, part-time mayor (an elected official, who ends up being just another member of the city council) with just a few abilities and ceremonial duties.

Under the proposed plan by ChangeDecatur.com, more of these powers would be under the mayor (an elected official), and a larger group of aldermen (and women) who have been elected to represent different communities within the city. (although I think the current 20-alderman proposal will have way too many people trying to get their voices heard)

Apparently, the original vote was going to be 1. Vote to change from the current system. and 2. Vote to change to the "Strong-Mayor" system.

But those opposing the vote did everything they could to mess things up. Apparently, whoever actually filed to have this ballot created, messed up. This made the 2nd part of the vote get thrown out for now. So all we can do is 1. Vote to change from the current system.

Under current law, if we do away with the current system, but don't have a new one to replace it, we default to a City Commissioner form of gub-ment. Which is pretty much the same as "City Manager", except the mayor becomes full-time (a good step) and takes the place of the city manager. Then they hope that in early 2009, we can vote to adopt the "Strong-Mayor/Aldermanic" system they originally hoped to pass.

So all that to say, I think it's a good move...even if I don't completely agree with having so many alderman in the kitchen. For those who oppose, who seem to be focusing completely on why the City Commissioner form of gub-ment is so terrible . I say get over it. No one wanted it in the first place, until you fought to get the vote screwed up.

addendum: I'm not sure if we're doing any favors with websites and videos like this one:

So we'll see what happens. In the meantime...Strike TV looks like it's going to be pretty stinkin' cool. So we can all have something besides American Gladiators (not as good as it used to be, but still entertaining), and Knight Rider (coming in February...pretty stoked).

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