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Council must respect residents

Dear Editor:

Listening to the Canadian Muslim with the spiky hair (whose name is currently escaping me) at the Aspen Ideas Festival, I couldn’t help but think of our own homegrown version, Madame M. Marks ” whose enthusiasm for the political process and our obligations as citizens does inspire ” hated by a few, grudgingly admired by many. Both women are emphatically saying, “The only way a culture/community can preserve itself when assaulted by external change is to be open, respectful of all its citizens and be willing to re-examine.”

First, respect ” the inclination of a few to blame the council’s disrespectful actions on Marilyn’s tenacity is akin to the fundamentalists’ stoning a rape victim. Fifteen years ago, a couple councilmen rolled their eyes and drew a silly cartoon about a resident, and a recall was mounted ” one lost his seat, and another barely survived. Even in today’s looser society, respect is necessary for successful democracy.

The council’s decision to audit the Burlingame numbers and to hire a management guru is a good one and should help the city administration to set up a tighter and more competent organization, capable of building housing and other necessary infrastructure.

But the council needs to have the courage to audit the behavior and decisions of the elected as well. The request by Jim Perry for an Investigation into the actual campaign is critical, because it is the elected ” not staff ” that run elections, approve budgets or drive decisions that push costs up. By law, staff is limited in the assistance they can give a campaign. If the elected don’t get their house in order as well, all the money and effort that goes into investigating staff procedures won’t achieve anything.

Money for housing, the arts, daycare, open space, the hospital, etc., has to be voted for. If this council doesn’t show a willingness to be exposed for and learn from any mistakes they or their predecessors made ” they risk losing the trust of the electorate. And without trust, our ability to accomplish any common good will come to an end.

Shellie Roy

Aspen


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