Civic Arrogance Runs Amok at City Hall Print
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 02:39

The old adage "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up" characterizes the modus operandi of four Davenport aldermen - Jamie Howard, Charlie Brooke, Ian Frink, and Brian Dumas - and Davenport Mayor Ed Winborn.

It is especially appropriate relative to their collective refusal to submit to the public's demand (and the majority of the council's vote) to leave Thursday's standing-committee meetings intact.

After last cycle's attempt to do away with standing committees - which would effectively marginalize public participation and council accountability even further - failed because of a lack of votes, here comes the issue again for another bite at the apple during Wednesday's regular council meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 7.

The issue mysteriously reappeared on last Thursday's Finance Committee agenda, from which it somehow managed to move forward onto this week's council agenda for another vote without the requisite quorum required for such an action.

The arrogance of certain members of Davenport's current city council is approaching illegality. The ordinance that governs agenda items, including Roberts Rule's of Order, are being summarily ignored by the mayor and others, who appear to be operating under the mistaken belief that their attempt to thwart the public by abolishing standing committees requires only six votes, when in truth it requires seven.

In an attempt to clarify the issue, Alderman Keith Meyer specifically asked legal counsel for an opinion and was flat-out stonewalled during Monday night's Committee of the Whole meeting. Mayor Winborn made every attempt to silence Meyer on the subject, rather than joining him in seeking this critical clarification by referring him to the previous week's responses by counsel, which appear to have been wrong, as well.

This odious conduct by Mayor Winborn and Aldermen Brooke, Howard, Frink, and Dumas toward Aldermen Meyer, Hammerlinck, Ambrose, and often Lynn when they reasonably attempt to get answers to relevant questions about the business at hand is as much an insult to the public as it is to each of them, speaking volumes about the lack of regard for the process, and the lack of intelligent effort on this civic cabal's part. The public must actively join together in supporting Councilmen Meyer, Hammerlinck, Ambrose, and Lynn in their consistent efforts to act on the public's behalf versus the special interests that underscore the efforts of Councilmen Brooke, Howard, Frink, and Dumas and Mayor Winborn.

Last week, a letter to the editor in the Reader listed a phone number for citizens to call and let the council know their thoughts about abolishing standing-committee meetings. Unfortunately, there was little or no effort to record these calls for the aldermen's review by the gatekeepers, specifically the front desk and mayor's office. However, Alderman Frink's claim of receiving only two calls on the matter is highly disingenuous when he received a log of at least 20 calls made to the council office directly and passed on to him.

So here is a new number to call with an assurance that all calls are logged and forwarded to the council: (563) 888-2070. So please call and state - or re-state - your position on this intensely important civic matter.

It is important to understand that the city is facing serious decisions this year and next relative to enormous expenditures. Nothing would suit the mayor and fellow conspirators more than to eliminate public input altogether on these matters. The more business that can be conducted behind closed doors, the better where this current group is concerned. But because elections are up again in November, the urgency to pass this resolution to abolish standing committees is paramount, because these five civic traitors know they will likely not be reelected. The damage they intend to inflict upon Davenport residents, without accountability, has a narrow window and it is closing. It is up to the public to vigilantly keep it open.

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