Yep, you were being discussed at a City Council meeting last night. Well..maybe not you and the lampshade you wore on your head at a Christmas party, but your money.
OK, I fess up, but until I became involved with the efforts of recalling the Mayor of Mandeville, I never attended a City Council meeting. Also, until we settled in Mandeville in January of 2007, local politics were never something I could sink my teeth into. Why? Well, because as a military family, by the time you go your last box unpacked, you were getting ready to move again.
Last night was another Mandeville City Council meeting. They occur the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 7:00 and are open to the public. These meetings are so important because they are discussing about how they are spending our hard earned tax dollars. We elected City Council members and the Mayor, and a system of checks and balances between the Executive and the Legislative branch goes on right in front of your eyes. You, Joe Q Taxpayer sit at home (as you should because you worked hard all day) and “assume” everything is running smoothly until something such as an audit shows your tax dollars were being used and abused, suddenly gets your attention. In Mandeville’s case, State & Federal investigators step in to figure out what the heck has been going on and if there has been criminal behavior. “The Audit” did not paint a pretty picture of how your tax dollars have been spent and the City Council automatically assumes an even more crucial role. They realize that your tax dollars have been being abused under their watch, while doing the job you hired them to do.
Now, Jane Q. Taxpayer, like myself becomes outraged at the behavior reported in “The Audit” and suddenly jumps into local politics by helping recall the Mayor of the City. It is my responsibility as it is every other taxpayer, to demand to demand top performance from those elected official. It is also as American as apple pie, to conduct a recall and get them out of office when they do not meet our expectations. It is also our responsibility to watch those that are watching others – the City Council members. After all, they ARE talking about us. And we all know, it is human nature to act differently when nobody is watching than when someone is watching.
The City Council meeting right before Gustav had a decent turnout of J Q. Taxpayers, who felt it was in their best interest to get involved. The juicy headlines stemming from the conduct of the Mayor attributed to this surge in attendance of citizens and the media. Roll ahead to the City Council meeting after Gustav, on the heels of Ike, and only a half dozen concerned citizens were in attendance, Cindy Chang & a reporter from the St. Tammany News.
Outside City Hall, a campaign to recall Price continued, but attendance at Thursday’s council meeting was sparse, and organizers gathered few new signatures for their petition.
NO WAY have I or anyone involved with the recall petition, given up hope that the recall will be successful. After all, we have until February to collect the signatures, and people will have tons more opportunities to sign the petition. Also, the odds, unfortunately, are in favor of more Mandeville headlines that will convince residents that they need to make the effort to sing the petition.
Oh – and here is a little secret (don’t tell anyone), but the past 2 City Council meetings were more exciting than any reality show on TV!!! Can anyone tell me why they aren’t on a public television channel? You must attend one – please make a point to do so!