Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

I'm just curious how many members read this blog.....I'll talk about it more at the meeting Thursday night.

Btw: I subscribe to the newsletter from the Chequamegon Dems which is the composite of the Bayfield and Ashland County Democratic Parties and I just received the most recent today. I'm impressed that they have such an active group.

I was a bit surprised to see some names showing up in their minutes/news that are also popping up in the Ashland Daily Press> in discussions of the Mayor/City Administrator issue. As many of you know, I was a former Mayor of Ashland and I pay a lot of attention to the happenings in Ashland and the whole Chequamegon (pronounced Sha-wa-ma-gon)Bay region. The Mayor and the City Administrator were locked in warfare for some time until the Administrator accepted another City Administrator's job in another State. At that point, some of the Mayor's supporters on the City Council (and also prominent Chequamegon Dems) circulated a petition to eliminate the City Administrator position and return to a full-time Mayor.

What's the fabled Yogi Berra quote? It's deja vu all over again.

This issue was fought the first time at the end of my second term of office in 1984. To my absolute horror, a group of my supporters circulated a petition DURING THE CAMPAIGN to change the form of government to City Administrator because (as they told me) they were afraid that if I were to be defeated, then the City would be in the hands of a Mayor who would be an incompetent administrator. They wanted continuity and a full-time, elected Mayor does not lend itself to continuity.

I'll argue that issue any day.....I think that over the years, I've come to believe that ,accountability is more important than continuity. A good friend of mine, Dr Malcom McLean, President of Northland College in Ashland at the time, once quoted an obscure philosopher (at least to me) who said something to the effect that a society that governs by committee will always be SAFE but will never be GREAT. Really, that's the choice. What are you willing to give up to be safe? (Sort of sounds like the discussion from earlier today doesn't it?)

The Citizens of Ashland are going to have this debate (again) and in the end, they will have to choose. It should be interesting.


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