City Manager amendment has hidden power

Council's proposed manager amendment empowers three councilors to remove any other councilor by claiming 'indirect coercion' of the manager. This new power allows council to use politics to evict a councilor they don't like. Like the power to sell Lithia Park, this major power shift is being slipped below the radar. Council's ballot description isn't fair and unbiased, as state law requires. The city attorney hasn't even filed an official final version of the text so we know exactly what we're voting on.

Five of us filed a Fair Ballot case in circuit court to fix council's biased ballot description. We won a big part of the case, though not everything.

The judge didn't clarify that 15-76 empowered councilors to remove another councilor using a vague phrase subject to the three councilors' changing interpretation. During the hearing, I argued our case to the court, telling Judge Osborne she didn't fully appreciate the importance of citizen oversight of ballot descriptions in the voters' pamphlet.

I'm no attorney. I'm a piano tuner, like my father and grandfather.

But, amendment doesn't sound right to me. Sounds a little flat.

Voters shouldn't let council politics remove a duly elected representative of the people. This would stifle dissent through fear. Democracy depends on differing views, not rubber-stamped political correctness.

It's not council's job to remove other councilors. If a councilor acts improperly, it's up to voters to recall them. Councilors should use their time to stop the city's runaway debt, not line up votes against a fellow councilor.

The foursome who put these measures on the ballot don't represent public interests. Their power expansion comes at our expense.

Like three councilors who voted 'no,' we should vote 'no' on 15-77, which gives four council members the power to sell Lithia Park without a vote of the people.

And we should vote 'no' on 15-76, which empowers the same foursome to get rid of any councilor blocking their expansion of city's corporate power.

Then we need to talk recall.

Kindler Stout

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