Are they aldermen or placeholders?
Regarding "Time to scale back city manager's power?" by Patrick Rodgers:
I have resided in this city for 51 years. What astonishes me is that there have been no studies to ascertain whether the conditions which led to the Council-Manager system still exist.
I feel like the council just shows up for meetings. What they vote on has been hammered out by the city manager and his staff. This official (city manager) is not accountable to the voters but to the council. This non-elected person is setting policies which govern operations here.
Like the decimal point, in essence I am voting for placeholders as opposed to policymakers. My confidence in elected city officials diminishes with each passing year.
Ivan B. Cohen
Fight the power
Regarding your recent Editor's Note about the jaywalking fines:
First, you can't get a ticket if you refuse to give the policeman your name. There is no law requiring people to carry ID. This should be publicly broadcast.
Rather than sue the government, put the burden on the government to justify itself. Here's how we save money, folks. Let's start firing government employees.
We'll start with the policemen writing the jaywalking tickets. "What's your name, officer? What's your supervisor's name? I have more right to know your name than you have to know mine. You are a public servant, after all, are you not? What's your supervisor's phone number?"
This is an opportunity to start cleaning house big-time.
Second, I'm a firm believer in civil disobedience when it comes to predatory laws. People can loudly and publicly refuse to pay the fine, write newspapers, call for the resignation or impeachment of the cretins in government who forget who pays their salaries.
Katharine C. Otto, MD
Why a hybrid spot?
There's at least one parking spot at Abercorn Common Shopping Center that is designated with a sign for Hybrid Vehicles. You've got to admire the consultants on that construction project, and I'm sure Al Gore is proud of such displays of environmentality, but give me a break.
Puhlease... someone getting a special parking spot because they can afford to trade in their car for a hybrid? There are probably thousands of people who would love to get a new car, even a hybrid, and cannot afford it. Why waste time on a spot for hybrids when you could provide spots for handicapped or pregnant patrons?
Besides, a lot of people could use the extra steps to get to the door of these stores. A little exercise might actually help them get off of their medication for diabetes, blood pressure issues, antidepressants, etc.
If anyone is frustrated with me, I will be the black Hummer parked in the hybrid spot once in a while. I think everyone should park in that spot out of defiance to a stupid policy. Not unlike the jaywalking one for downtown, which is also a policy I defy when I have the opportunity.
If people cannot make a wise enough decision when it is safe enough to cross a street without realizing they might get hit by a car, it's fine with me. I think we could chalk it up as survival of the smartest. I also feel bad for the tourists, but the ones coming here thinking Emeril has a restaurant should go play in traffic anyways.
People jaywalk all over the world and survive. The city's reasoning for this is not that they are looking out for our safety, it is to help offset the costs of rising health care costs for employees, covering for sick days, vacation days, rising fuel costs etc.