Saturday, April 23, 2016

Four votes? Maybe more? Let's see.

We are constantly reminded that it takes four council votes. On Wednesday evening were four council voters inspired to broaden the most important franchise we have - the enfranchisement of the governed? Will they see that they serve that franchise best by empowering it? - A Life and the Times

An action item

It is no longer possible to say "if anything was done wrong it was unintentional." Once the disparate outcomes in city board and commission appointments being produced by the current process have been made clear, those who continue to use that process become complicit in any continued inequities that result.

On this issue, we can move as quickly as the mayor and the council choose. They can take up the work of citizens in the recent community forum and bring it into the deliberative and legislative process of city government. They can enlist us in fashioning productive and positive reforms that broaden and deepen our enfranchisement in our city government. The mayor and the council can do this immediately.

At the earliest opportunity, the mayor or a member of the council should put before the council a motion for the formation of a task force charged with addressing diversity and inclusion concerns in appointments to city boards and commissions.

This task force should:

  1. Consider reforms that bring diversity and inclusion to the appointment process and the pool of applicants; 
  2. Review arbitrary limits on the size of these bodies that may unnecessarily restrict participation; and, 
  3. Provide for transparency and accountability throughout. Obviously, the formation of this task force must reflect the diversity and inclusion it is charged with fostering.

We cannot have an inclusive city if it is not inclusive at its governing core. Those we elect to serve can no longer say they do not know of the disparities this appointment process is producing. They can no longer excuse themselves by saying they do not mean for these disparities to occur.

We deserve more now than their regrets. The mayor and the council can either say that they are determined to reform this process (and then do so); or, they can by inaction or delay or silence seem to say they do not care.

I believe they care. Let's see what comes of it.


If you agree, you can help by saying so.

Contact your councilperson here:

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