Somebody once told me that when a new government is elected they go through a period of time where the electors are very patience, very understanding and accept that every thing does not change over night.
This period his often referred to as the honeymoon phase, during my two terms of council this phase lasted about six months.
Since the election I was not at all surprised that things were pretty quite then for the first six months, I was a little surprised with the next six months (Apr 11-Oct 11), then I was shocked that the last six months have been so subdued.
But I have to keep in mind that our local government has been acting like the good folks at the Lotto 649 they were selling hope (Strategic plan, Municipal reorganization, Improved efficiencies etc, etc).
Suddenly the last couple of weeks it was like Spring came early, a rebirth around town, people started talking about local politics and not in the Pollyanna sense that I have heard over the last eighteen months, but in the sense that they are starting to ask questions and have expectations.
“When is the strategic plan going to do something for us”, “why is the municipal hiring so many new people”, “where are the inefficiencies”, “how much are we spending on consultants”, “are our taxes going up”.
Then two weeks ago “the cancellation of TITV” all of a sudden the local media jumped on board, editorials were written that put our local government in less than a positive light, they have started to ask questions. Maybe just maybe the honeymoon is over, let’s be honest folks I have lived here for almost 30 years and this council has gotten a fairly easy ride from the media compared to previous councils.
On my first term on council I was told if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen. So I felt it would be interesting to see how this council reacts over the next few months to feeling a little bit of pressure from the public and the media. Well I did not have to wait a few months, Tuesday night March 20 I went to the council meeting. I expected just a regular council meeting, they went through the normal course of business. Just prior to going into camera the Mayor announces that he is going to do something different. He is going to allow the media the opportunity to ask a question each to clarify anything that may have happened that night. Didn’t seem like a bad idea until suddenly the Mayor seized the opportunity to chastise the media for some “blatant errors in both papers reporting over the last few weeks”, then the lecture turned to how critical it is that they report the council proceeding “accurately”. When a member of the media attempted to respond to his comments she was shut down very quickly and told this is not a “debate”.
Wow, I realized at that moment why there is so little debate during the council meeting, (debate to me is not taking a moment to agree with the party line, or making the right motion). If this had been 30 years ago in the old
think those members of the media would
have been carted off to the Gulag. USSR
During my six years on council I always believed I had the right to disagree with the media, to not like what they were printing. Never once did I feel like I had the right to control what they had to say to make sure that they reported “accurately”.
It will be very interesting to see how the media reports from this point forward!.