In yet another display of gratuitous brown-nosing during last week's council meeting, Davenport's Ward 6 Alderman Bob McGivern chastised Ward 2 Alderman George Nickolas for his resolution calling for a "quantitative and qualitative analysis of MidAmerican's proposed rate increase." McGivern called the resolution "the goofiest to date" and "completely uncalled for." He further accused Nickolas of political grandstanding. If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black!

McGivern noted that the council received "a nice letter" from MidAmerican's governmental-affairs office, and that we should call the company's representative with any questions we might have. Because, McGivern stated, "unless we put Nickolas on the [Iowa] Utilities Board, it [the resolution] is a waste of time."

At a minimum, McGivern demonstrates, once again, that he is clueless when it comes to picking his political battles. The council vote was nine in favor of the resolution, one against. Ward 3 Alderman Dan Vance rebuked McGivern: "I don't appreciate your comments on another's resolution. We are facing lots of increases. We want the resolution to show we care. If you don't like it, then vote no," which, of course, Alderman McGivern did.

My question is: How many times does Alderman McGivern have to vote in favor of special interests at the expense of the public (which includes residents of the 6th Ward) for the voters to recognize this politician's allegiances? His voting record, in tandem with myriad comments such as these made at the last council meeting, are clear indicators of his lack of broad-based representation.

I would argue that politicians such as McGivern are the antithesis of capitalism, and that their support of special interests over those of the public threatens our economic model. When our elected officials create policy and legislation that benefits special interests at the expense of the consumer, taxpayer, etc., then the capitalistic model is compromised. Legislators' primary allegiance should be to the taxpayers and consumers who elected them. Ideally, government should function purely as a facilitator of certain infrastructure services - including some oversight where there would otherwise be none - that benefit taxpayers and citizens aggregately.

Unfortunately, politics has gone so far afield of the concept of representing the taxpayers. This is evidenced by many of the candidates in the upcoming primaries. It is far more about winning, and very little about issues, or what needs to be done. Both sides of the aisle are so consumed with winning that issues are of little consequence. It is deeply disturbing to observe this political mentality, because it is what shapes our elections today.

So what can be done? First and foremost, everyone should revisit the subject of capitalism to better educate themselves on its principles, so we all can recognize the abuse that occurs when politicians advocate special interests over those of taxpayers.

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