Championing for causes -- and people you represent -- can be done in a civil manner
John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 07/12/2011 02:40:33 AM PDT
Councilwoman Atkins, we have only spoken twice, very briefly. It was not about politics, which was good because I got to see the person behind the council dais. We represent different spectrums of political beliefs; however, if we talked more, I hope we could find some common ground.
The Linda Atkins that I chatted with on these two occasions was a friendly, intelligent, articulate woman and I can see why your supporters are so loyal. One of the occasions when we spoke was over refreshments after the new council members were sworn in and before their first council meeting. We laughed and chatted. This should not be unusual, but it may have seemed so to some, because I have been very clear about whom I support politically. I saw our dialogue as the spirit of cooperation essential to move this community forward.
Moments after this pleasant conversation, I watched you turn around and “attack” your fellow council members and others, and it was personal. They are not just my elected representatives, but my family, my friends and my community members.
I am genuinely bewildered at the Linda Atkins I see sometimes at city council meetings and the comments I read from you in the media. The level of anger expressed -- and the disrespect shown toward your colleagues -- has me questioning which is the real Linda Atkins?
The last My Word I wrote got a response from you, in which you called me disingenuous. I never responded, not to you or the personal attacks from certain “progressives.”
Championing for causes -- and people you represent -- can be done civilly.
Most recently, you spearheaded a petition to fire the city manager. Your supporters and those who praised Garr Nielsen brought up money and what it cost the city. Do you think the time you spent on this petition and the meetings in which a loud, disrespectful group of your supporters showed up was in the best interest of the city, and was your time spent on this single issue a wise use of taxpayer money?
After serving on the city council for three years, you know that a majority of the elected city council can terminate the city manager's contract. A former city council member with a grudge and a handful of angry residents cannot. Garr is in Oregon. He has moved on -- why can't the rest of you? Maybe because it isn't about Garr but much ado about nothing to distract people and fuel divisiveness.
Our community seems to have certain angry, bitter people, many who are the very same people who protest anything the city tries to do. It is the same names and faces that show up on a regular basis at city council to complain.
Whether it's Jefferson School or protesting a cell-tower or preventing Teen Challenge from taking over an abandoned building, it is always the same people who have a problem. There are never solutions, always blame, because it isn't about issues; it's about attacking people who they disagree with, and yet those attacked take the higher road every time.
It is about thwarting any real change and taking political pot shots and hanging out at council meetings than actually working to make a dent in homelessness or poverty or creating legitimate jobs that would increase our tax revenue.
The people I voted for have been consistent in their support and acknowledgment of me. They are proud to associate with me, and I don't have money and I don't wear fancy clothes.
How many meetings did it take before you and former City Councilman Larry Glass and the same vocal “majority” reluctantly listened. According to all of you, the Marina Center was not the voice of the people. Measure N passed with 70 percent voter approval this past November.
It's time for a few to stop the conservative versus progressive game. Most of us, regardless of our beliefs, want the best for this community. Think how much we could accomplish if we worked together and moved our city forward.