I enjoyed the two speeches of these outgoing councilors last night. Especially Pat’s. Pat could have talked about his policy tenure, and he touched on it bit, but his emotional outreach to his family’s sacrifice was awesome, I encourage you to listen, it was off the cuff, and amazing (FF: 30:00). Also, Pat was the ONLY councilor of all the outgoing folks that didn’t vote for stupid projects (Bunker Ramp and Admin building) and voted against almost EVERY tax increase, including EVERY property tax increase. It is unfortunate that Pat wasn’t utilized more by his colleagues, he has an amazing talent to be compassionate on issues, and I am NOT, so I appreciate that about Pat.

As for Neitzert, he took a different approach, he penned his outgoing speech (FF:17:00) and he sent me a copy (Below). Greg really nailed a lot of things that happened over the past 8 years. I will applaud him on one thing, apologizing to constituents for making bad decisions. It takes a bigger person to do that;

This has been an amazing chapter of my life and I’m so thankful I was given this opportunity. Thank you to the voters of the Northwest district for giving me the honor to serve them for the last 8 years. This experience has made me a better person. I understand better my strengths, and my weaknesses. I’m less judgmental than I used to be, and I know what I don’t know. My goal, my ideal, was and is always to disagree without being disagreeable. I was able to live up to that most of the time. But there were times I fell short, and for that, I’m sorry, particularly to those who I interacted with in those cases. I’m human, and sometimes I let emotion get the best of me. Public service challenges you, makes you better, but it can also highlight your weaknesses, and you must continue to learn from your mistakes. I made some mistakes, but I tried to learn from those experiences. Some of the hardest times I had in the last 8 years were experiences that made me better too. I tried not to take criticism personally. In public service, you have to keep reminding yourself that’s part of the job and continue to fight the urge to close yourself off and put-up walls when you get criticism. We learn the most from those we disagree with. There’s almost always a nugget of wisdom or perspective we can take from everyone. We need to listen, put ourselves in other’s shoes, practice empathy, and challenge our own ideas. I tried to do that as best I could.

One thing you learn very quickly is that one Councilor can do very little on their own. “I” can do almost nothing. “We” can do almost anything. The City Council is best when it is made up of citizens from all walks of life, various income levels, careers, and perspectives. We need diverse life experience, and it is vital that we represent everyone. We must remember there are a lot of people simply struggling to get by, living paycheck to paycheck, living on fixed incomes, in this city. As elected representatives, we need to go out and get input and perspectives from everyone, not just those who run in our own circles. We must get out of our echo chambers, wherever those may be for each of us. We need empathy, and no one can do it better than someone whose been there and walked in the shoes of someone else.

It’s been an amazing 8 years to be on the City Council. We’ve accomplished a lot, and I like to think I was a small part of it. When I started, I hoped to at least leave the city a little better than how I found it, and I think we did that. When I think about our accomplishments, there are a lot of things I could talk about. So often

we focus on what I call the big shiny objects. The events centers, the pools, the big buildings. Those are good, but it’s the less glamorous but vital bread and butter issues that we’ve impacted that I’m most proud of. I’m proud to have been part of the selection committee that chose Via as our new transit provider. For the first time in decades, I really believe we could see a revolution in our transit system. By the end of this year, we are likely going to be serving the entire city with transit and running our fixed routes faster and more frequently. That’s going to change lives. I’m proud that when other cities were defunding and denigrating their police, we defended them, and we invested in them. It was the right thing to do, and its paying great dividends. We respect, support, and admire our first responders, they know it, and we’re proud of it. We tackled tough issues like video lottery, marijuana, and homelessness. There’s still a lot more to do.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with me on an issue, I want you to know I tried my best to make an informed decision, and I always tried to explain how I got there.

For the incoming City Councilors. Thank you for stepping forward. It’s going to be a fun ride. You’re going to meet great people. Know that a lot of people are rooting for you. Do your best, be humble, and be open and transparent. It’s a sacrifice for you and your family. Good people are always stepping forward, and to a person, we are in good hands with the incoming Councilors.

If I may offer a few words of advice to the future City Council. Remember the City Council has immense power, but only if it chooses to use it. And note I said City Council, I didn’t say City Councilor. The Council has power only when it stands united, and uses the power granted to it by Charter. When voting, don’t be afraid to go it alone, or be in the minority when you feel you are right when taking a vote. Some of those are my proudest votes. Don’t vote against your conscience because your afraid someone will take offense or to avoid conflict. You’ll regret it when you do. Don’t be afraid to disagree, just do it respectfully.

Finally, I want to conclude with thank you’s. There are so many people to thank that I cannot possibly name you all, so my apologies in advance.

Thank you again to the people who voted and gave me a chance to serve them. It’s been an honor and I hope I represented you well. Thank you to all of the citizens who challenged me and encouraged me.

Thank you to those who give their time, talents, and treasure to this city. Whether it be the citizens and organizations who donate to make major city projects happen, those who serve on citizen boards for no compensation, or those who work for or serve on a nonprofit providing important services in our city, and everyone else who love our city.

For those who came to public input and testified in front of us. Thank you. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a Mayor and 8 City Councilors, particularly to tell us you think we are wrong. You held us accountable. You made us think. Whoever you are, whatever your viewpoint, it is valued. Don’t let elected officials demean you or dismiss you. We need to listen respectfully, whether we agree or not. It’s our job. Freedom of speech means nothing unless you protect the speech you disagree with.

Thank you to the incredibly dedicated city employees, in every department. You do so much important work day in and day out to serve our citizens. The citizens are lucky to have you, you made me look good so many times, where I got the credit, but it was your dedication and hard word that solved the problem. Whatever department you work in, your service is valued and important. I appreciate you.

To the City directors, it is absolutely amazing the talent and integrity we have leading our city departments. I have so much respect for you and your service.

Thank you to our Council staff that served us so well. The City Clerks, for all the work they do. Our budget analyst and legislative manager who help us create and make sense of policy and legislation. Our auditor who ensures our city is accountable. We couldn’t do our jobs without your incredible work.

To my fellow Councilors past and present. Thank you for serving, bringing your perspective, and sacrificing your time and talents. Thank you to your families for their sacrifice and allowing you to do this important job. I learned something unique from each of you. You all serve for the right reasons, and the city is better because you chose to serve.

Mayor Huether and Mayor Ten Haken. Thank you for leading our city. I enjoyed serving with both of you. It’s a job that comes with a lot of scrutiny and personal

sacrifice, and I know it can be hard on not just you but your families. Thank you for your leadership. You both have made your own marks on this city that will endure well beyond your time serving.

Finally, to my wife and daughter. My daughter Olivia was 7 years old, in the first grade, when I started this journey. She went door to door with me. She’s 15 now, about to finish her freshman year at Roosevelt High school. She’s literally grown up the daughter of a City Councilor. She’s been able to see the good, bad, the ugly of public service. I did my best to be there for all of her events and to keep the Council service from impacting the time I had to spend with her. She’s been able to experience some things she never would have been able to had I not been in this position. She knows more about city policy than most her age I bet. It created a lot of teachable moments and good conversations, not just about policy, but about life. You’ve grown into a beautiful, intelligent, and kind young lady. I’m proud of you and I love you.

To my beautiful wife Jen. Thank you for supporting me over the last 8 years. For all the times I said I’d be gone for an hour and I was gone for 4 hours. For all the nights I was at meetings and not at home. For all the help with my campaigns, your graphic design, stuffing and addressing envelopes, and doing whatever needed to be done. For the times you were angry and wanted to defend me when I was attacked. For the time’s I used vacation time for Council stuff instead of taking you on vacation. For helping me make this work. For holding me accountable. For supporting me and encouraging me when it was hard, when I felt defeated, and in some really dark days. For being a great mom. You can’t do this without the full support of your spouse, and you gave it to me every day. I love you, and I’m better because of you.

Thank you all for giving me this opportunity. That concludes my remarks Mr Mayor.

2 Thoughts on “Thank you to councilors Starr and Neitzert

  1. D@ily Spin on May 16, 2024 at 12:58 pm said:

    There’s a future for these 2 councilors now that they no longer represent an undemocratic unconstitutional autocracy. Just don’t shoot dogs, alienate native Americans, support sending troops to war with Mexico, practice paternalism putting unqualified offspring into a real estate appraisals capacity, etc..

  2. "Woodstock" on May 16, 2024 at 1:39 pm said:

    “A daughter-wife might help, too”…. 🙂

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