At the noon Council meeting of October 23, there was lengthy discussion about hiring a spin meister to shape public opinion on council issues.
Some wanted to expand the “Public Information Group” (PIGs) in City Hall and others wanted a council staffer to handle “constituent services.” There are currently spin meisters in the office of the mayor, police, public works, fire.
Councilor Alan Shealy even advocated contacting the Statesman and telling them what the council wants said because, “people read the paper.” The Daily Paper has been co-opted before, let’s hope the new management listens to the debate and makes up their own mind.
Shealy said they needed to be “pro active” and not be forced to respond to “the photographer and his blog” which the councilor described as being “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” The GUARDIAN felt reduced to the level of cops who Shealy previously described as, “smoking dope and eating dog food.” For all his education, Shealy never learned manners.
Unless there is a huge upset in the Boise City election, we see no change in the roster of politicos at City Hall.
The GUARDIAN has said it before. “They really aren’t bad people, they just need some direction.” And there lies the problem. They don’t take direction well at all!
We can offer a long list of poorly or illegally handled decisions ranging from land deals, denying citizens the right to vote on long term debt, the 10 commandments petition, a slush fund for a new police station etc. The legal department has lost a bunch of high profile cases, many times because they didn’t have the law on their side, but they represented their “client” –the council, not the citizens.
They establish budget priorities based on telephone marketing surveys of only 500 people–the GUARDIAN got called twice. The result is an annual surplus that is spent for pet projects using the survey as justification. We would love to see a shopping list on the City election ballot every two years. Citizen approval of capital projects. That idea comes from Councilor Maryanne Jordan and it is a good one.
Like some religious zealots, the majority of the council and the mayor seem convinced they are “doing the right things” and they tend to view others–including the GUARDIAN–as “wackos spreading hate and disinformation.”
This administration is bound and determined to do things whether the citizens approve or not. They have circumvented the voters on the important issue of libraries and a police headquarters–claiming it was done through “savings with no new taxes.” That stretches the truth nearly to the breaking point. We admire their dedication to their cause, but they really need to take direction from the public instead of seeking to manipulate the public to follow THEIR causes.
With the help of readers and City insiders, the GUARDIAN will continue to offer insight and perspective to city affairs. We need good solid information. The local government is expanding its staff to shape opinion. We have NO staff, get paid NOTHING, and depend on your intelligent discourse.
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