Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Perceptions Matter

Jeff Rossman's mantra is "perceptions matter" however it's not clear to me if he deals in reality. OK- Jeff is a likeable guy and he works very hard for his cause. But my perception is different than his perception. He believes since several people stood up at a City Council meeting and asked for a ward system to be put in place immediately that it should happen. I disagree. I am not opposed to a ward system.

Last night's City Council meeting was VERY long- the public hearing on the Charter Amendment contributed to the length of the meeting. The City Council ultimately decided not to ask the General Assembly to change their charter to permit ward system of electing school board members.

Jeff's perception is that there is no opposition to the elected school board therefore a ward system should immediately be put in place and furthermore the city council is out of touch. It is easy to be in Jeff's place arguing for something for which there is no organized opposition.

My thinking (not perception) is process is important. A change like the one Jeff's supporters were arguing for is likely to happen and may be the best system. But, an at large election in May fundamentally does what Jeff's referendum wanted.

My mantra is PROCESS MATTERS. That one person stood up at the meeting and professed to be horrified by the elected school board and the aftermath suggests to me there needs to be some education in the community and that the people who showed up last night MAY not represent the will of the silent majority (even if they voted for the referendum).

Jeff had the opportunity to speak three times last night. I do not think City Council by not supporting a Charter Amendment last night is out of touch. Now that we have an elected school board, a deliberate process will be important to make sure the elites (Jeff and co.) dont get their way simply because their voices are the loudest, AND MAKE NO MISTAKE their voices are the loudest. Dont buy into the hype that the Democrats dont want a ward system and the "fix is in" as Jeff suggested. I suspect the opposite is true, a ward system is inevitable. Ordinary citizens (not elected school board lobbyists) do not know what this should look like- I dont either. Hopefully after careful debate, a consensus will emerge, if not I am sure City Council will show decisive leadership and make a good decision as we elected them to do.

Daily Progress account of the evening's entertainment.
Channel 29's thorough analysis.
Cvillenews also has a few things to say- the mystery remains- what does the email say?

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