Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sour grapes & a rotten apple (Local politics)

Deena Takes the OathWent to see my friend Deena Beard sworn into office Tuesday night as first ward commissioner for Nether Providence Township. (Go, Deena! So proud of you.) But the pleasure was short-lived. The embattled minority decided to make the night into a fiasco, and you could tell it was a coordinated attack. First they made a show of how they intended to work in a bipartisan spirit. They made the motion putting Democrat Lin Floyd's name into nomination for the Presidency. That was the last time we'll see bipartisanship, I'm afraid. Would that it had been sincere. I think its was a setup.

This was the reorganization meeting, and with a party switch, one of the tasks that must be completed is the appointing people to the posts like Solicitor and Vacancy Board. Make no bones about it: these are political appointees. Always have been, and it is an incoming majority's prerogative to fill them.

They immediately launched the assault. "You campaigned on open government, but you didn't consult me on who you were going to appoint to the post." Questions, insinuations, challenges, backhanded remarks. Guys, do try to remember that there is a difference between people who ARE the government, and the people who are PLANNING a transition. And do at least try to avoid the really blatant hypocrisies.

But that wasn't the worst of it. Robert O'Conner, 6th ward, (who usually only stares vacantly at the back wall during meetings until he can use a little mic time to promote a pet issue,) flipped his wig. He lost his gourd. He blew a gasket. Some combination of all of the above.

Incensed when President Floyd asked that his remarks be kept brief after he took the microphone to echo a series of long grandstands by Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Firkser, he shoved his microphone, threw his water bottle off the table, slammed his chair and stormed off the dais with a "This is bullsh*t" and a flurry of "crap's." He didn't actually leave the room, though. He stood in the back, huffing and pacing while the meeting was conducted.

Ms. Floyd astutely made sure that as the subsequent votes were tallied, she noted that there were "four votes in favor, two votes against. Mr. O'Connor has chosen not to vote."

During public comment, he took the microphone and launched an attack. Swore he wouldn't sit at the table next to her. More gratuitous use of the word "crap." (He really likes that word!)

It's funny. Two weeks ago when members of the South Media Fire Company came in to admonish him for remarks of his that they found upsetting, he was so contrite. But one tiny challenge from a fellow commissioner, and he unleashes an unholy shi-- crapstorm!

It's too bad. The residents of the Township don't want to see these antics. When one or two elected officials act in an infantile manner, it has the tendency to cause their constituents to lose faith in everybody involved, even the process of government itself.

I'll be interested to see whether Mr. O'Connor can manage to make a gracious apology at tonight's work meeting. Don't hold your breath.


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