So tomorrow will bring the new year and with it a new government for our city. Many things have happened in our city that have left me frustrated and at times downright angry. However, I believe our elected officials are stand-up citizens that are doing their best to forward the interests of this city. I've attended or watched most of city council meetings this past year and I've been impressed at the intellect and bipartisanship of the current councilmembers - there are no "duds" in my opinion.
And while we are losing 4 members from this impressive group we are replacing them with qualified candidates in Karen Goldner, Mitch Harper, Liz Brown and Marty Bender. The only one I'm skeptical about at this point is Bender. Personally I do not believe city employees should be allowed on council and I also found him the least impressive of the new candidates. Having said that, Bender has been a public servant and previous councilmember so there's a body of work there that speaks for itself.
One thing I hope to see from the new council is less group-think. At times I felt like certain councilmembers were voting on issues just because everyone else was or because they didn't want to rock the boat - I hope the new members shake that up a bit. To the outgoing members, I say thank you. It's a tough position and the pay isn't great but trying to improve your community is important and something people should be commended for.
Tom Henry will become our next mayor and it will be interesting to watch him grow into that role. There were many, many times I agreed with Mayor Richard, but other times it was difficult for me to support him because I perceived that he simply didn't believe in open government. I sincerely hope that mayor-elect Henry continues the good work of the Richard administration while simultaneously promoting open government and citizen participation every step of the way.
Finally, I would like to extend an invitation for you all to join the local blogosphere. Several local officials are readers and commenters and I believe all of you can offer a unique perspective that people would enjoy. The local blogosphere is constantly growing and I don't think we're going away anytime soon so you know the old adage - "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"