Wrist Slaps for All!

I went to the town hall meeting about Gainesville city budget issues last night. I got there a little late because I had to rush from the other side of town after getting done with a job later than I had hoped. I arrived at about 6:10 as city manager Russ Blackburn was giving a Powerpoint presentation on what a great job the city is doing keeping expenses down. Then came the much anticipated citizen comments, so I was right on time.

About 100 people had come out for the 6pm meeting in some lousy weather. Most of them had come to complain about high taxes or some other injury they felt they were suffering, which is the very purpose of a meeting like this. Someone should have told the city commissioners. Instead, it was another chance to tell the citizens why they were ill-informed and just wrong.

After the first citizen commenter finished, there was a few seconds of scattered applause. Mayor Lowe, who has very high standards for decorum, warned the people not to applaud because applause disparities might, “make people feel bad.” However, when one of they city’s plants took her turn to speak, she spent most of her comment time scolding the citizens for, “not doing their homework before speaking.”  She said this several times without rebuke from the Mayor for making anyone “feel bad”.

No matter what complaint about higher taxes and fees, which are very real things, the city commissioners blew off the concerns of the citizens as if they were imaginary. Only one man came out and said what most of us were thinking: “This is a waste of time. We just need to vote you people out.”  Amen, brother!

2 thoughts on “Wrist Slaps for All!”

  1. Hey Don,
    It was to be expected. It is funny that it is easier to live in a large municipality with outright dirty politics and corruption, but Gainesville is such a dispicable place because the leadership, for a large part are two-faced liars. They represent no one but themselves. I am married to Gainesville Police officer and she struggles with the politics everyday. We do not live in the city limits, but just outside, and seeking to move farther out. If it weren’t for my wife being a GPD officer, we would leave Alachua County. We lived in the city for 15 years prior to the recent two, and I honestly cannot stand it.

  2. From 500 miles away, reading the Sun’s on-line accounts of the Town Hall held at Talbot, and the recent city and county meetings, it looks like the mayor and Ms. Chestnut have landed upon a strategy that intends to quash all dissent under the guise of pleasing Miss Manners. I don’t think this will fly well with many of their constituents, who are being bled dry to support the appetite that their “representatives” have for spending projects, above and beyond basic services. Nor will it silence the growing Tea Party movement, which is comprised of overwhelmingly respectful, polite folks who actually know something of the US Constitution, and want to retain it as the law of their land.
    This isn’t North Korea, Russia, China, Iran, Cuba or Venezuela. (Yet.) We don’t have to sit there silently like programmed robots, and listen to disingenuous speeches and silly sound bites from the people who are supposed to represent us, without response. We can still speak, clap, boo and hiss. This is America, for crying out loud!
    Imagine our founding fathers at one of our city or county meetings. (Liberty, not “decorum,” would have been their cry!)
    I hope it isn’t too late. All politics is local! Speaking out and applauding in Gainesville sends a ripple that will be felt in Washington…

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