Why vilify citizens that want to participate in local government?

From KELO TV;

Bob Litz says, “What this is, what you’re seeing there with a conflict of interest actually is a tactic by a group of people that don’t want me to vote on this thing and they think if they can keep me from voting on it that they’ll get their way so it’s a tactic. Let’s just say that.”

Greg Jamison says, “I think some of the people that might be intrigued about de-railing this whole process understand most likely that it is going to pass and that they are looking for another way to derail this.”

I can understand why councilors Jamison and Litz would be personally upset that a citizen is questioning their intentions as they govern. What I can’t understand is why they would vilify citizens that want to participate in the democratic process just because they disagree with them? Would they prefer citizens just showed up to vote for them on election day and then remain apathetic until the next election day? That’s the impression you get after reading their statements.

I wasn’t trying to get anyone in trouble by asking the ethics committee to issue an opinion on conflict of interest. I was simply asking them to render one before the September 15th vote on raising development platting fees so there is a precedent and not a complaint down the road (no pun intended).

Make no mistake about it, developers have been pulling the puppet strings of city hall for quite some time and the public is finally coming to the realization that developers want your tax money to invest in their projects. This isn’t always a bad thing if the public benefits to. Growth in Sioux Falls is wonderful, but can’t developers find a way to continue doing business without constantly pandering to the city every time they want a new road built?

When I first filed the opinion request and saw my name plastered all over the media, my first reaction was that there would be a backlash. Quite the opposite. I haven’t heard one single negative comment about what I did, most people reacted by saying “It’s about time.” And these are people from all walks of life. Remember, Litz has been down this road a couple of times, and is becoming increasingly untrustworthy. He recently changed his vote on a road closure after he had already promised citizens in his district he would vote in their favor. He also got caught serving on a housing board while also sitting on the city council, in essence voting on policy twice. He seems to have trouble taking responsibility for his actions, and wants to blame citizens for his misjudgment.

That’s why it surprised me that Litz, Jamison and even councilor Brown were blaming the citizens for my recent opinion request. This confuses me. I never asked if they had a conflict of interest when it came to the retail tax increase, just the platting fees, which are widely supported by most of the councilors and most likely will pass even without their votes.

My suggestion to Litz, Jamison and Brown is to back off the citizens and not assume we are trying to derail anything, we are just asking that you be honorable and uphold the law and stop whining to the media about citizens asking you to do your job. Listen to your constituents, instead of the special interests that funded your campaigns.



2 comments ↓

#1 Ghost of Dude on 09.09.08 at 6:34 am

Sounds like the two councilors went off half-cocked.
When you’re a public official, you should expect to have your actions questioned, and be prepared to respond like someone who has at least two brain cells.

#2 l3wis on 09.09.08 at 6:55 am

Especially after you have already been caught twice doing something unethical. It’s like Bob just doesn’t get it?