Vox non populi
Three of Marion’s city council members don’t seem to care much about what citizens have to say.
Like the Japanese “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” monkeys, they covered their eyes and ears (though not their mouths) a week ago and refused to let citizens speak before considering what to do with a charter ordinance that needlessly takes away citizens’ rights to vote.
Rather than take final action on pushing ahead with the ordinance during a regular meeting, which deadlines clearly would have allowed, the council then scheduled a special meeting at an odd time — without any provision for citizen comment.
Citizens managed to find out about it and still showed up, but council members refused to allow them to speak, even when it was to answer a question from another council member seeking to verify that the three had misrepresented the citizens’ position on what to do about the ordinance.
When the council finally got around to its next regular meeting Monday, it was clear that the special meeting wasn’t needed because absolutely no action items were left to put on the agenda for it.
Afterward, when a citizen finally was allowed to ask questions, the monkey mantra shifted from hearing, seeing, and speaking no evil to hearing, seeing, and speaking no truth when one of the three council members deceptively claimed that it was OK to take away citizens’ rights to vote because they don’t have voting rights in some other cases. That’s like saying because we can’t vote for secretary of defense, we shouldn’t get to vote for president.
Then, the next day, the city opted not to publish in this paper — and instead put in an out-of-town “free” paper — an ad informing the general public of their one and only chance to comment in Phase One of creating the city’s strategic plan.
It’s too bad we’re not in Britain, where the Dec. 20 vote on whether to take away voters’ rights could be regarded as a no-confidence vote, forcing council leaders to resign.
— ERIC MEYER