City Council chaos
Posted on November 10, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun
The most recent City Council meeting exposed a weakness in local government that may explain why Council seems to accomplish so little so badly: No one knows who is running things, why, in what direction or for what purpose. Specifically, Council apparently lacks a coherent method for setting agendas to identify, prioritize, discuss and decide by a date-certain the concrete issues important to residents of the City. It also seems unclear whether Council controls Staff, or vice-versa.
Kudos to council members Amy Harrington and Madolyn Agrimonti for having the chutzpah to Call Bullschidt on the current situation. But what’s the solution?
Perhaps its time to invite constituents — i.e., those who live in the City limits — to propose agenda items to achieve something – anything – more meaningful than endless Proclamations commemorating everything from First Responders to the birthday of the City Cat. Readers probably didn’t even know there was a City Cat. Well, there isn’t; but no one would be surprised to hear Council had proclaimed one.
In September, a list of residents’ suggestions was sent to Council and City Manager as a small contribution to help ignite fresh thinking; or, as the Bible says, Raise the Dead. It’s nothing particularly profound but simply a best-as-can-be-recalled collection of various ideas gleaned from casual conversations over the years with a cross-section of City residents. Many seem far more concrete, practical and imaginative than many which appear — apparently unbidden? — on Council agendas or in so-called goal-setting exercises.
Undoubtedly still in awe of it, Council and Staff have yet to acknowledge receiving the list — not even a note suggesting where I should stick it for safekeeping.