Sunday, December 12, 2010

Petty is as Petty does!

Every time I read an Argus Leader editorial addressing the Mayor and the City Council I have to scratch my head. Sunday’s editorial takes the Council to task for their petty politics. Oh, and by the way, they know who they are according to the editorial board. I just don’t get the Editorial Board but me thinks they are drinking Huether’s personal water stash.
I agree that the City Council’s latest action in passing a resolution prohibiting the mayor from spending down the city’s reserves without council approval is a move to tighten control of the mayor, but to say there has been no attempt by Huether to change the reserve’s healthy level is a head scratcher.  Maybe the Editorial Board should start reading its own reporters’ news articles.
The mayor has stated in the past that surplus money will go into the cookie jar for the event center. His actions regarding cuts in departmental budgets and program services and going after employee pay and benefits to ensure the reserve fund continues to build a healthy balance for his EC vision is telling.  It may be a knee jerk reaction of the city council but, then the mayor has not been playing very nice with the city council despite his energetic projections on how he and the council were going to be a team and play nice together when he took office.
Since when is it petty politics to ask questions and have different views and positions on issues? The city council is part-time but that doesn’t mean they are supposed to be mute or be a rubber stamp to a mayor or gleefully clap at everything that comes out of his mouth.  Their authority rests with budget and appropriation oversight.  It may be an irritating part of this whole strong mayor, weak council form of government but what it means is the mayor and his administration must play nice with the city council even when they find it irritating to do so. It’s been a problem ever since this form of government became a reality.  Petty or not, it is a reality of this form of government.
What I do not get is a newspaper editorial board who continues to sleep with this mayor. The word on the street is they cowtow to his every complaint when their reporters don’t report his words accurately and according to rumors out there even muzzled one of their reporters at his request.  They were hard as nails on Munson when he held the office but they seem to have a little bed set up in the corner of this mayor’s office to make sure they cover him with a nice warm blanket everytime those mean council members hurt his feelings.
Balanced reporting and balanced editorializing from the local newspaper  -  is that too much to expect? If the editorial board is so intent on representing the mayor's position, maybe they should apply for that vacant chief of staff position he is holding on to in his budget. 

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