Tuesday, December 29, 2009

County Council: Appointment or Disappointment?

As predicted by Dec 15th's Gristle column in the Weekly;
In any event, Pete—who has spent the last year cannily splitting the differences and then mending them on a variety of issues in front of County Council—will undoubtedly appoint someone who best benefits the aims of his administration.

Also, my own blog of December 12 supplied my logic and preferences to this process.

Herald articles from yesterday sum up what actually happened plus a few reactions

Turns out Pete picked Ward Nelson, an existing Council member who was to retire at the end of this month.
He did not pick Dan McShane, a previous Council member who ran for election this year for the other District 1 seat, but was narrowly defeated.
I believe - like others - that deferring this appointment to Pete allowed him to demonstrate his true political preference, and restructure the Council in a way that does not challenge his well-known 'do-nothing' agenda.

Not that Nelson is a poor choice, but his political leanings and history do NOT align very well with his predecessor, Bob Kelly, a progressive who resigned last month.

Also, Pete essentially ignored the fact that Nelson recused himself and therefore did not receive 3 votes of support from the current Council members. Instead, he simply substituted his own choice -as the Council in its dysfunction allowed him.

I am not surprised by Pete's action, since I have observed his management style and preferences fairy closely over the last 10 years.
He does not like to be challenged by either Council members or the Council itself, which has happened during the last year or so.
Just witness Pete's unusual step of endorsing Carl Weimer's opponent - and indeed the entire 'conservative' slate - during the last election.
Think that wasn't out of resentment for being out-maneuvered on the Flood Tax issue and a few other things?

But, Pete's recent veto of the budget changes recommended by the Council seemed to be the real tip-off as what he was up to.
[Only Nelson and Brenner opposed the Council's recommendations.]

With one conservative [Nelson] leaving the Council and two [Knutzen & Kershner] being elected, means a net gain of one.
And with three progressives [Kelly, Caskey-Schreiber, Fleetwood] leaving the Council and one [Mann] being elected, means a net loss of two - depending upon Pete's choice of appointment.

So, inside of one month, the political balance of the Council has shifted from a 4-3 majority favoring Progressives, to a 5-2 super majority favoring Conservatives -partly thanks to Pete's choice of Nelson.

Pete surely has to be more comfortable with the new political 'balance', don't you think?
He ought to be, because he now has tighter control over what that mischievous Council might do.

And, actually DOING something isn't anywhere near the top of Pete's agenda. At least that's been my observation.
After all, DOING something might further polarize this County!
"it is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." - Thomas Jefferson 1787