To the editor:
How did we get from an overwhelming rejection of a $15 million police station levy to city staff and the city council proposing to spend nearly $30 million – without voter approval – through the use of councilmanic bonds?
The 3-2 vote by the city council to reject a citizen advisory committee to weigh in and advise on a proposed new police station and new municipal court is the latest in a long series of actions at city hall telling the public, “We know better than you.”
Ever since the levy defeat, it seems that the city and council have done their best to go around the voters to use public funds to hire consultants and build what they perceive as a high priority when in fact, it is doubtful that the public sees either a new police station and a new court as even moderate priorities.
The police department is now doing great work and is highly regarded by the public, as is the municipal court. There is no public outcry or demand for better police work and a better court.
Yet, for the council majority, it’s become all about a new, expensive building rather than police and court performance. Somehow, the council majority has become convinced that it must, without voter approval, acquire very expensive land or a building which must be completely rebuilt, and then spend close to $30 million, double the amount that was rejected by the voters not long ago. Is this good representative government?
The council would be wise to reverse the 3-2 vote, put a hold on consultant spending and get the public involved with a task force, limited to a six-month term.
Failure to do so will be perceived as yet another “We know better than you.”