Political Activism – 102

I am hearing a lot of chatter on the island about things people are not happy about.  Coyotes.  Street signs.  The new Parking Plan.  Lots of phone calls, emails and Facebook postings.

Only city council can pass ordinances that will effect change.  Period, end of story.

So, you basically have 2 options:

  1. Run for city council, propose an ordinance, and get 5 of 9 councilmembers to vote for it.
  2. Organize a sizable group of people to show up at council meetings and speak directly to council about their concerns.  Alternately, you can organize a petition drive.

Any, and everything else, while it may make you feel better, is not going to bring about change.

Here is what doesn’t work:

  1. Posting a bunch of stuff on Facebook.
  2. Sending out emails to all your friends.
  3. Posting stuff on the website Nextdoor.
  4. Calling an old IOPNA member to see if the IOPNA will lead the charge.  (For the record, the IOPNA has been dead for years – killed off by apathy.)

What do all the above methods that don’t work have in common?  They don’t require much, if any, effort.  You can use these tools to organize a petition drive or to get a group of people to speak before council, but anything else is wishful thinking.

You see, to change something takes effort.  And what most people are doing is putting their concerns out there and hoping someone else will run with the ball while they get back to watching some television show.

Again I repeat the words of Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert:  Passion is bullshit.  What matters is personal energy.

No Way Because No Means

The Ways and Means committee met on Jan 19 and being the first meeting of the year, a chairman needed to be selected.  As in previous years, Jimmy Ward wanted to be chairman.

He and his supporters feel that because he is a CPA he will have a better understanding of the city’s finances and, just importantly, find ways to slash “out of control spending.”  Remember, the city already has an excellent CPA on payroll, Debbie Suggs, and her work is stellar.

Jimmy was put into nomination by a passionate speech from Sandy “Fiscal” Ferencz.  Alas, only she, Jimmy and JimDaddy Carrol voted for him to be chairman.  Mayor Dick Cronin was once again elected to the chairman’s seat and newbie Ted Kinghorn was elected as vice chairman.

Jimmy Ward and his army of 2 seem to feel that if he is chairman he would have the power to cut out all the profligate spending.  First of all, there is not that much of it (and if you think there is, please go on record and point it out) and second, he is only 1 vote.

Of interest, over the past 4 years our city council has had 5 fiscal conservatives who wanted to cut spending.  Buckhannon, Carroll, Ferencz, Loftus and Ward.  Yep, that’s a majority!  They could have worked together and cut out all the waste.  They could have “cut to the bone, baby!”

So, what actually happened?  The budget went up each year!

One final point.  To get things done in a representative democracy, you have to work with people who may not totally agree with you.  You can disagree, but you can’t be disagreeable.  (A perfect example of this on the national stage right now is Ted Cruz.)  Jimmy PPO Ward is just not pleasant to work with according to other council members.  Even when he had a good idea, others are less likely to listen.

So, a new year, some new council members, and the same result.  But that is fine because Mayor Dick Cronin has done an excellent job of leading the committee, and despite some strange misperceptions out there, he has not sneakingly shoveled boatloads of money into Wild Dunes!

IOP Parking Garage

The Post and Courier reported this week that IOP has been approached by an out of state company interested in possibly building a parking garage for beach visitors.

Any mention of a parking garage in the past has been dismissed in a nanosecond by virtually every resident of the IOP.

But think about this for 2 nanoseconds:  Would you be in favor of such a building if it eliminated all other daytripper parking on the island?

I don’t know if that is feasible, lawful, whatever.  But if it could be done, well, what would you think then?