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Democracy is Messy

by on 05/24/2014

John Owen, former noted sports journalist, and current Edmonds resident, used his cooking column in the Beacon to have some fun with the City Council, not a courageous act these days. (Piling on is a personal foul.) No one has ever accused me of being humor challenged, but I’m going to have to give Mr. Owen a “4” for humor. Better luck in the free skate. Mr. Owen equated the Mayor with the head coach of a football team, and suggested that Mr. Earling “kick butt and take names” on the Council. Mr. Owen went on to lament that the Mayor does not have authority over the Council, and wish someone was in charge.

To make it clear, the Mayor is not “in charge” of Edmonds government. He’s not the king, the emperor, the tsar, the CEO, or the head coach. He has no more authority over the Council than the head librarian down the street, or the third-grade classroom president of Ms. Ellison’s elementary class. He’s in charge of city employees. That’s a hard enough job, by the way.

You know who’s at the top of the organizational chart of Edmonds, Mr. Sports Journalist? The citizens who pay the bills, and elect the Mayor and Council — our town’s 12th man. Now and then, Edmonds’s 12th man elects some extra-colorful personalities and, subsequently, some extra-colorful conflicts rear their heads. Democracy is messy. Who knew?

For those who believe that the seven Council Members are more dysfunctional than a different seven elected officials, I suggest a thought experiment. Think how things would work if Mr. Earling had to share his authority with Mike Cooper, Gary Haakenson, Barbara Fahey, Laura Hall, Larry Naughten, and Harve Harrison — the previous six mayors of Edmonds. Now that would be colorful.

For those who find democracy too untidy, after Mr. Putin extinguishes the messiness around his parts, you should invite him to come and run Edmonds. He’s sure to kick butt and take names.

From → Edmonds

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