And each is obliged to entertain the conversation of anybody that might walk up to them on the street, or at some less than thrilling function they had to attend. No matter how unimpressive that person's intellectual grasp of the issues, or the eccentricity of their ideas.
Which is why this evening's swearing in of three new City Council members is such an interesting occasion. While they do assume the ultimate municipal power, which is the ability to legally spend the taxpayer's money, it doesn't come without sacrifice. And that sacrifice is the loss of some options that we take for granted. You go from being a member of the audience with unlimited rights to living with the constraints that come with being a part of the show. An experience that ennobles some, while exposing others in ways that they probably hoped no one would ever see. And there are some people who do watch.
Of course, this is still a City Council meeting, and before that changing of the guard money must be spent. And since the April 10th City Council meeting was canceled due to the election, double spending duty will be done. Between Payroll Transfers, City Warrants, PFA, the Library, and some CRA residue, the total amount comes to a cool $1,458,782.60.
Which is what being a City Councilmember is really about. At least in my opinion. That biweekly spend number is how taxpayers should be keeping score. And any Councilmember that causes that number to go up needs to be called out on it. In difficult times such as these, that is the challenge they all need to answer. And I suspect that some of them do not possess the wisdom or resolve to do that correctly.
By the way, quietly tucked inside that nearly $1.5 million dollar outlay is $309,000 that goes to pay something called the Public Finance Authority, or PFA. Although it is not identified as such in either the Meeting Agenda or staff Agenda Report, this impressive sum will be used to cover a portion of some old CRA Bond debt. Old bond debt being in my mind synonymous with government failure. Which I suspect is why it was slipped in there now when few would be paying any attention.
Just in case you wondered why it is important to elect people who actually know something beyond living financially for today.
I would encourage anyone whose knuckles don't scrape the ground to come down to City Hall and honor one of the greatest City Councilmembers this City has ever seen. Nobody has worked harder for this community, or done it with greater intelligence and wit, than MaryAnn MacGillivray. MaryAnn's accomplishments are legendary, her perseverance in the face of the grotesque dishonesty of her detractors admirable, and this community owes her an enormous debt of gratitude.
See you there!