Two weeks ago the Reporter went on record with an editorial recommending that two term councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti be elected council chairwoman for 2016. We had no idea our editorial would cause a stir and set people howling at the notion that we’d seriously promote Kristen for the top council seat.
Over the past several years we’ve clearly demonstrated that we’re not the councilwoman’s biggest supporter. However, our argument to seat her as chairwoman reasoned that, after serving six years on the council, and with other council members having failed to distinguish themselves as chairman, she deserved a year with the gavel.
And yet the cries of displeasure at the mere thought of “Chairwoman Grandinetti” were surprisingly loud if not clear. It seems that those who are desirous of a second year of Chairman Andrew Touma – the mayor is believed to be among the desirous – are arguing that there’s now a “tremendous positive momentum in the city and greater cooperation than ever before between council and mayor.” This new era of positive momentum and new cooperation must be maintained by keeping chairman Touma in place.
Or so goes the pro Touma doctrine.
If out of control spending, a mysterious recurring city deficit, frozen water lines, a trash and recycling plan that’s garbage, a foolish city-wide privatized parking plan, zero governmental transparency, and a 2016 property reassessment plan supported by the current chairman pass for good government, we frankly fail to see it.
As for Charles Walker – a man who has sat in the council chambers for two decades and served as chairman several times – sources tell us he’s testing the waters for yet another run for chairman. He might accomplish that task by putting his arm around council newbies Ezra Scott and Ken Tomkins by promising them each the council chairmanship (2017 and 2018) in return for their support in 2016.
Far be it for the Reporter to speculate as to how quid pro quo political horse trading could impact the careers of the newly elected council members. However, we see nothing but negatives for Scott and Tomkins if they take a bite of Walker’s apple in return for future considerations. Such a Walker temptation would literally be the first test of leadership for the two rookies and it might discredit them from day one of their council term should they succumb. Scott has presented himself as new and fresh. Tomkins has presented himself as a straight forward get’er done candidate. To roll with an elected official, like Walker, straight out of the gate – might label them as “typical deal cutting politicians.”
What we find comical about the question of, “should we or shouldn’t we let Kristen Grandinetti become chairman” is that the council members aren’t electing the leader of the free world, they’re appointing from among their membership, a person who will guide their meetings and represent the face of the council to the residents. There’s nothing more to it.
Nothing more to it, that is, unless the councilmen are conspiring to prevent the councilwoman from becoming chairwoman.