Standing Committees Are Critical for Dialogue Print
Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 02:17

Davenport has a glorious history of birthing newspapers - 150 in 171 years. Yet even the mud-caked, hand-cranked press of the old Daily Gazette, which fell off the gangplank into the river, could have printed a clearer picture than the Quad-City Times as to what Davenport citizens will lose if their council eliminates all four standing committees.

February 15's "Let 'Em Eat Cake" editorial trivializes the harm done when committee meeting times are cut from four hours to one and a half hours - leaving only 23 minutes for each! This is barely enough time to conduct routine business, much less placate a crowd of angry taxpayers or park defenders. In addition, aldermen would be banned from "dialoguing" with the public; at least standing committees allowed public questions. Agenda items would be bundled together on a "consent" agenda for quick passage - in one vote. To stop such conduct, the public would be forced to stage last-minute city-wide manhunts for not just one, but two, aldermen, in order to beg that they pull items off the consent agenda in time, or there never will be a discussion of these individual items.

The proposal to eliminate standing committees was never publicly announced on any agenda! It magically appeared for a vote in the middle of a Finance Committee meeting, which in and of itself gives you some clue as to how fair the "City Hall versus citizens" game will be played in the future. Leave a message at City Hall today - 326-7711 - for the mayor and all aldermen to preserve standing committees, and to not allow an overturn vote at the 3 p.m. Finance Committee meeting on March 1 in Davenport City Hall's Council Chambers, where the first item on this committee's agenda is the "resolution amending city council rules."


Karen Anderson


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