Council should listen, then talk
Let’s get Fresno beyond government by press conference, as most recently seen in “Fresno Mayor Lee Brand pulls gas tax spending plan due to ‘partisan disagreement’” (April 2, The Bee), and going back at least to Measure P, where dueling proposals and multiple press conferences resulted in nothing accomplished and a whole lot of yard signs to recycle.
Public debate and creative compromise are necessary to good government, but we have a vehicle for this debate that is open to everyone: city council meetings. It’s not debate, and it certainly isn’t compromise, when you stand in front of cameras and beat your chest — it’s grandstanding!
Council members should at least wait until proposals arrive officially in chambers before falling on them like a pack of hyenas. Then they can do the hard work of speaking to colleagues who may disagree with them face to face and the harder work of listening. As it is, all sides have so entrenched themselves into positions by the time discussion opens that they have no room to move should they…gasp…learn something in debate and change their perspective.
– Wayne Steffen, Fresno