Council Collapse Disorder
At this point when it comes to internal politics of city council I am as confused as the beekeepers who are wondering what is happening to all the bees? For sure, City Council has always been a nexus of painful and personal politics. You don’t need to go far into the past to find stories of squabbling amongst themselves. For the local historians out there, some personal spats are legendary: Madoff/DePasquale, Ferlo/Masloff, Polack/Givens to name a few. Yet even when the machinations were pointedly painful, involving profanity or even a few physical altercations on the record you usually could tell what the point of the fighting was about and who was on what side.
The problem we have today over the continued squabbling is that the public is confused at this point over what the point really is. Even the most charitable interpretation would find fault with just about everyone involved. How this has dragged on this far is mind boggling.
What is at risk if this continues a day longer. it is worth noting what this has meant to city politics. Consider the brief history to date of the sitting government for the City of Pittsburgh. When first elected and early in their term city council had quotes like this:
- “Change is in the Winds” May 16, 2007
“Three Newcomers Bring Fresh Perspectives” January 2008
“City council taking on a new look and attitude” January 2008
All I can say is that never has a political body had its reputation fall so far, so fast, over so little?
Now what? Does anyone really talk much about what is going on with regards to Lamargate. Does anyone remember the mayor’s former press secretary. What issue does the public associate with the whole billboard imbroglio?Yes, this very post has sort of a Heizenberg effect that contradicts itself.. but for anyone who is a public official I really plead: end all of this now. I am sure everyone has lots of things they want to say and get off their chest. We all want greater transparency and communication with our elected officials. Nonetheless, at this point there is absolutely nothing any of you can say on the record that is going to do anything to lessen the public’s confusion in this matter. Stop, end, cease and desist, invoke radio silence on just this issue. There is a point so sometimes just saying “No Comment”. When those pesky media folks ask for “just one comment” to respond to whatever… just say no. Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor.
The good news is that nothing in politics is permanent and with luck this will all be forgotten.. if not by each of you then by the public. This will not be the first issue you all disagree, sometimes on very core value terms. You can’t blow everything up over every instance like this lest what will happen, has happened, is happening, is a complete disfunction where matters that have to be attended to are just completely forgotten. Vote your consciences and move on. Anyone looking at how the city’s pension fund has been faring of late? Add 5 zeros to the legal bill jamming the machine to understand the magnitude of that one issue.