Lalley; Shut up and vote.

Guest Column by Patrick Lalley

In government and politics there is a direct line between votes and votes.

That’s not a typo.

It means that when you enter the arena of elected office every vote you take becomes potential fodder against you. That’s just part of the deal and most people know that going in.

Party caucus leaders in legislatures and Congress will perform all sorts of procedural gymnastics to either prevent their members from taking a “bad” vote or forcing the folks on the other side into the same.

For better or worse, that’s the game.

It’s fun to watch in the hands of the masters.

It’s pathetic in the hands of amateurs.

That’s what I was thinking on Tuesday night during City Council Bingo at Full Circle Book Co-op.

The issue: Whether to look into diverting some parking ticket money to the Banquet’s SOS program, which collects school supplies for low-income families.

NOTE: Before we go any further can we just say that we all love the good people at The Banquet? If you don’t, raise your hand. Good. That saves us some time.

NOTE 2: This one is for the City Council. We all love The Banquet, as evidenced by Note 1. You don’t have to tell us that you do as well.

NOTE 3: If you didn’t see the City Council meeting on Tuesday, based on the comments, I can only assume each of the members has donated thousands of dollars to The Banquet.

Back to the issue of the parking ticket money and the low-income students. Councilor Theresa Stehly forwarded a resolution to ask Mayor Paul TenHaken and his people to look into a Las Vegas deal under which ticket cash was diverted to a similar program.

Now, let’s just say for the record that any time you’re using Vegas as your example, maybe you’ve gone a little off the mark. That being said, we’re talking about a pretty harmless request, a resolution saying can you look into this.

Boom.

Done.

Move on.

Which would be all well and good if our current collection of city councilors weren’t so concerned about what Theresa is doing, or saying, or writing.

Instead of voting no and letting it go, which in truth is the correct vote for all kinds of reasons, Councilor Curt Soehl decided to up the game with an amendment to the resolution.

That’s where the wheels came off.

All of them.

Wheels hanging out of the trees.

Gone.

The details at this point get a little fuzzy, but basically the city attorney said the amendment to the resolution would require a public notice, etc. etc.

But the underlying issue here is that Councilor Soehl thought it was a good idea to poke Councilor Stehly in the eye with a procedural stick.

The best defense against a bad guy with a stick is a good guy with a stick.

Wait, that analogy took a turn. Oh well, weapons.

Let’s just say that it went bad and after a bit of wrangling and ridiculous positioning the entire council looked like blithering fools.

Political positioning in legislative bodies is an art.

This was not that.

I get that there’s a fissure on the council. It’s 5 to 3 in a lot of situations in which there is disagreement.

NOTE 4: But for a couple hundred public service sector union votes that put Soehl in that seat, it could very well be 4 to 4. Think about that for a second.

And if you don’t like Theresa Stehly, that’s fine, you probably have similar opinions in your echo chamber. And to be clear, she’s not a political strategist.

In fact, let’s get back to politics. Specifically, let’s talk about elections.

Former councilor and state legislator Kermit Staggers won a lot of elections and I would venture that about 6 percent of people actually agree with him on philosophy. But the man was an advocate.

He showed up.

He listened.

That’s what Theresa is, an advocate for people who don’t have a voice.

That plays my friends. It always has and it always will.

Here’s my advice to Councilor Soehl and like-minded folks who want to try and use the legislative process as a political tool.

Be careful.

Back in my reporting days, in a land far, far away, we used to have a saying.

Shut up and vote.



6 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 08.16.19 at 10:43 am

Stehly gets attention. She takes her duty as councilor serious. The 5 no-sayers get paid with outside consideration to vote down most everything publicly practical. It’s important to present ideas for council review. We should appreciate Stehly for her activism. Isn’t it time to remove some or all of the 5 developer doll councilors?

#2 Scott on 08.16.19 at 1:12 pm

Finally had time to watch the DVR version of Tuesdays debacle. First off, the meeting went an hour too long, between the discussion about access for a business and the donation discussion, or was it a debate? Sometimes, I think some of the Councilors on the right side of the TV screen just ramble to get camera time. For this meeting, their actions were embarrassing and their attitudes continue to be arrogant. Am so ready for new faces on this Council.

#3 anominous on 08.16.19 at 2:10 pm

Lol what record do the 5 think they’re standing on? They have a parking ramp without a hotel to stick on it that looks like the final days of the old JC Penney building downtown. Meanwhile folks are gonna have to chip in to rent a crane some day. “STFU and vote”, is more like it.

#4 matt johnson on 08.16.19 at 2:20 pm

not sure who is on the right side of screen but think this is typical of many elected officials; the most famous though had to be Vernon Brown

#5 Warren Phear on 08.16.19 at 8:44 pm

~Which would be all well and good if our current collection of city councilors weren’t so concerned about what Theresa is doing, or saying, or writing.~

P. Lalley

Patrick…this is everything about this council in a nutshell. This collection is insecure as hell.

#6 LJL on 08.18.19 at 7:12 pm

And now I remember why I found Patrick’s column so annoying to read.