Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why I voted as I did

I'm not going to go into the specifics of the whole sidewalk situation as I need to let it go and move on.
 
Many moons ago near the egg of time I was a wee lad who played cello in the Fort Atkinson school orchestra.  I was in the 5th grade and as I remember it City Hall was going to cancel the orchestra program.

My parents were agitated as they must have had visions of me going to Julliard (I was 1st chair cello) and would bring home major amounts of cash or something (little did they know how much musicians get paid).

ANYWAY - there was a huge ruckus and a large group headed(?) by my parents went to "fight city hall".  It was at that point when I decided to NEVER even consider being a politician for anything and that worked out very well for most of my life.

My parents won their battle and the tip of my spear ended up as last chair cello in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony for a while. Beating city hall was a pretty big deal for many people as they brought the evil politicians to their knees and songs were sung around the fires of my village as the story was retold for generations. 

Fast forward to last night.  It is I sitting in front of angry citizens who are calling us corrupt politicians and threatening us with "if this passes I will move out of Columbus" and "I am on my knees begging you" language.

This is so awesome, getting paid basically $1 an hour to go through this after literally having my brain trying to come to grips with a no win situation for the last 2 months. How can I do what I feel is best for the city while at the same time trying to do what is best for the citizens of this neighborhood.    

I am 100% confident that the future of the city should come first and I am 100% confident that what I truly believe is best for the future of this neighborhood is exactly the wrong decision for the people that live in the neighborhood.

Flash back to 7th grade.

A bully does not like that I do not take him seriously. He does not appreciate that this skinny little 120 lb guy will not "yes sir" him and he feels he needs to scare me and decides to push me around.  Well, this skinny little guy is not a surrender monkey and is stubborn and push's back and then goes into a defensive stance.  There is a tussle and he left hooks me in the mouth and my glasses fly off and now blood is flowing pretty freely. 

But then I surprise him and become a berserker unit swing back.  NOBODY swings back at big Jeff and I catch him in the eye.  That was basically it for me and bully wins and next thing I know I'm getting stitches 5 stitches but bully has a BIG black eye from skinny Rod.

Why do I mention this? Because when a citizen of Charles Street (or somewhere around there who owns some apartments or something) threatens me and then another calls us a bunch of corrupt politicians and another threatens us . . . . . . . I ALMOST went into berserker mode.  HOW DARE YOU.  Uncalled for bullying and I am not one that appreciates the nuances of bullying.  Do they know who holds the cards?  Is it really good idea to insult the people that you want on your side?

I ended up voting to help the neighborhood probably because of my parents.  The question is this.  When you are on City Council your job is to help the city move forward as a whole.  But your job is also to create a place for the citizens to have a good life.  Sometimes those two do not match up so what side do you take.

On this day, I decided that while putting in sidewalks would help the city's transportation network and create a safe place for children and elderly . . . .it would at the same time lower the assumed happy people quotient.

There were just too many problems with a sidewalk on that side of the street.  I am a yuge sidewalk proponent but on this particular case I had to side with the citizens on that street.  If/when this comes up again I doubt I will vote as I did this time.  Heck we could not even bend the sidewalk around the trees.  Just too many problems. 

I hope the citizens of that neighborhood appreciate it and I hope next time they will learn how to negotiate better. They almost lost it.