Between the rock and the hard place

There seem to be times in our fair city when the irresistible force meets squarely with the immovable object, and from up here in the rockin’ chair it looks like the collision will provide some interesting effects.

Representing the irresistible force is the city’s efforts to obtain a few signatures that would pave the way for a $1.3 million state community block grant designated to make sewer repairs and upgrades in city council Districts A and B. Unless we’re underinformed, the city needs 242 folks to sign up and show approval.

That’s 242 folks from areas that show a combined total of just over 2,600 registered voters. Interestingly, those who are being asked to sign do not have to be registered. They just have to be residents of the districts. 

Now that ought not be that hard to do, you say. Heck. We’re asking fewer than 10 percent to agree the free money is needed for an important infrastructure project. Not so fast, Optimistic Man. To date, after a few tries at canvassing, city workers (including Hizzoner, Mayor Transparent) have managed to get only148 persons to sign on the appropriate space. Seems some folks suffer from signer’s block.

In District A, council member Wayne Edwards has helped by knocking on doors. He apparently understands his neighbors need improved sewer systems.  Work that can be done with free money; work that will improve the quality of life in A and elsewhere. Despite his disagreement with the current administration, he’s helping.

District B representative Terika Williams-Walker doesn’t seem to share Edwards’ enthusiasm in helping the people. Reading a news story from the rocker, we noticed Mr. Edwards commented extensively on the effort to obtain needed signatures. Meanwhile, Ms. Walker eloquently told the article’s writer,  “I have no comment for you,” when asked to talk about the signature drive.

Why no comment on something critical to improvements in District B? Guess when one does nothing, one can say nothing. Maybe a new city handbook, Ms. Walker’s pet project and the impetus for a series of no-shows, can address all the nothings to which we’ve become accustomed.

Well, Ms. Walker, we have a comment for you. Perhaps, we’re told, if you domiciled full-time in the district, you’d understand the need for upgraded infrastructure. Property taxes and utility bills do not a resident make. 

Enter the immovable object. Somewhere around the bend in the road, near the place where saints rest, we’re told there’s a force that doesn’t want the current city administration to see any success prior to election time. This object, we’re told, has recruited willing accomplices to build stone walls separating the city. 

That’s unfortunate. The little two-wheel drive pickup truck that is city government in Minden isn’t going anywhere when the road is constantly blocked by unyielding barriers. And, blockages do not benefit the people who call this city home, nor do they build a power structure.

Before the rockin’ chair rests, Occupant would like to ask Hizzoner a couple of questions. Sir, the theme we’ve heard time and again is transparency. Just how transparent was your office when discussing pay raises? Sure, we know. Your phone calls went unanswered, as did your emails. But making the effort to contact all council members, with a written trail showing you did so, goes a long way toward being transparent.

And how about the hiring of your city attorney? Yes, your council wasn’t talking to you but, again, a paper trail showing you tried is transparent. By the way…talking to the LMA doesn’t provide legal footing to hires without council approval. Neither does talking to the Attorney General. A written opinion from the AG would be transparent. Where is it?

Your city attorney, who apparently is good at his job, says you are CEO of the city. Ok. We’ll go along with that, from an administrative standpoint. But that doesn’t give you carte blanche. Remember, every corporate CEO in America answers to a board of directors (i.e.,  a city council) and to stockholders (or stakeholders, i.e., voters). 

Transparent is the word of the year. Elections are around the corner. How this city administration, top to bottom, will be judged depends on we, the great unwashed. You know, we’re the people you tolerate for three years, then cherish for one. Soon, tolerance and transparency will be in the hands of the stakeholders. 

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