Being a city council person never has been easy. There are three factors that the newly elected often find challenging. First, the jobs are hard. A person has to read a great deal of difficult material before every meeting, and officials must work not only with those who agree but also with those who do not. The jobs take a great deal of time. Second, new officials often are dismayed to find how strictly their personal power is curtailed. A city council member has no authority on her own; only when the entire council passes a measure is any “power” expressed.
Third, and perhaps most important, the job is mercilessly thankless. There are some who express support and are respectful when they disagree, but there also are some who both disagree and express their thoughts in a disagreeable fashion. Public service is work that one can understand thoroughly only by doing it.
So, I am especially appreciative of our current council and its willingness to entertain discussion of issues that are pertinent to our city and to the larger world. Three individuals introduced the inclusion resolution, sparking needed debate, despite knowing they would be criticized. That took courage and conviction.
Mayor Zak was effective in maintaining decorum in a tough room, and moved the whole process along efficiently. The entire council was patient and every member of the public who wanted to speak had the opportunity to do so.
That meeting was grassroots democracy in action. For facilitating free speech, no one deserves opprobrium and no recall should take place. Good city council persons bore the brunt, but they did their work appropriately and well. I’m proud of them all.