By Jenny Paulson – A primary argument proffered by proponents of the ‘Strong Mayor’ form of municipal government is that an elected official, who would run the City of Pueblo, will be more responsive to input and pushback from the citizenship.
if history tells us what would happen, let’s look at our seven elected City Council members, half of whom lack complete accountability to the people who elected them, and yet they continued to get re-elected despite their absurd lack of accountability and that they squandered or taxpayer money for years (eg Bob Schilling who’s continually humiliated our city with absurdities and acts outside of his authority as north side Councilman and that they operate with an unbelievable 6-7 million a year shortfall).
Thus based on history, such a Strong Mayor, as proposed, would only be challenged once every four years an since most incumbents tend to win in any office, thus the Strong Mayor wouldn’t have much of a challenge anyways, if Pueblo doesn’t have a stronger Citizenship. The Strong Mayor, when he or she serves the final second, and possibly lame-duck term, may not inspire civic responsiveness at all.
Money and power are factors in Pueblo, we all know this. We aren’t certain as to the motivations as to why some run for Council, and we are a little cynical of why someone would run for the Strong Mayor position and are afraid that the “power brokers” of this City will use their money to elect “their” candidate, running over quality, sincere people who might want to run (as was the case of Council for many years, a long era when Pueblo’s millionaires were typically elected and had the power to hire an honorable City Manager who wouldn’t do as he was ordered by the money people) and regular, caring citizens feared running for office.
We may want change and may dream that a “mayor” might be the answer. This one simply isn’t it, it was written in violation of the Charter and election laws. It was written without input from the people. It’s not just a ballot item for a Strong Mayor, it’s the hacking of our already hacked Charter. There’s a reason, and we agree, that current City Management and City Council were given an over 95 percent vote of disconfidence from a recent survey by over 100 police officers. We agree with our officers that that it’s time for change but this proposition 2A isn’t it at all. The unions said no to input into this mayor, we weren’t invited to meetings. They refused to give us documents early on that we are analyzing now. So it’s time to say thanks, but no thanks to this tyrannical Strong Mayor and all the “slipping in” of Charter changes that violation our founding father’s wishes, clear in the first part of our Charter, that any change of government be made with a Charter Convention.
Let’s work together to create a Charter that provides the safety, quality of life and public input that we deserve. Let’s be Strong Citizens Pueblo. Vote NO to the Strong Mayor and YES in 2018 to a Charter Commission (which means if we pass next year, even if those obstructing the sacred public trust win, we can reverse this unethical hacking of our government). We are starting NOW with the creation of cutting edge “Empower Pueblo” Neighborhood Councils, you’ll soon be invited to the one in your neighborhood, they are going to help empower us, neighborhood by neighborhood, so we have a voice and will be ready to focus on our year-plus Charter study.
Here’s your test. Contact your City Council representative and those running for office, and state your case, for or against the Strong Mayor. Then let’s see what kind of responsiveness we get from elected officials and those running, and see if they’ve even reviewed the legislation that is in violation of local and state law.
Jenny Paulson is the publisher of Southern Colorado Independent Magazine.