Change We Can Believe In
by David Rambeau
It may be hard to find a job in today's economy; it may be hard to make ends meet needs, but one thing we can do is register and vote. We can be upset about the billions that the Wall Street fat-cats got to maintain their super-rich lifestyle, and maybe we can't get that money back, (though Obama better try) but we can take that anger out on non-relating, non-responsive, arrogant, vacation-prone, conference-going, perk-grabbing, shake-down seeking, rhetoric-running politicians when election time comes. And it's coming this year. Thank God, it's coming this year.
The Democrats thought the senate seat in Massachusetts was "their" seat. It was and is the people's seat. Every seat any elected official sits in belongs to the people. And it's time to remind more of these folks that that's what democracy is all about, the people's seats. Maybe they should open their meetings with the mantra, "This isn't my seat; it's the people's seat. I don't need to fly to conferences all around the world to fake like I'm in serioius sessions, I can go on the Internet and get all the information necessary. I and my colleagues don't need to take a two month recess evey four months. I, and my colleagues, need to attend every session and vote on every piece of legislation the people pay me to vote on. I, and my colleagues, will not claim to be leaders; we will only claim to be elected officials." Amen.
Why is it when half the people in Detroit are unemployed or underemployed, we don't hear, see or read about what the elected officials are doing about our issues, not their issues? Why aren't they at more community meetings taking notes instead of making self-serving speeches? Why doesn't the Detroit City Council hold more of its meetings in the community where ordinary citizens can get at them? Why do we have a mayor in Detroit who lives behind a gated community instead of in an ungated neighborhood where he can be fearful of being shot at with the rest of us?
Why did we have nearly 400 homicides in Detroit last year and the police chief keeps telling us the department is making "progress"? Is the Detroit Police Department doing any better on its tests with the Federal Monitor than Detroit students are doing on their math tests? We may have had more homicides than Bagdad, Iraq or Kabul, Afghanistan, and there are wars going on in those cities.
Why does the mayor have a brand-new $60,000 SUV, and the City Clowncil is still driving city cars when they should be on the Woodward, Jefferson or Dexter bus with the rest of us? Maybe if they rode the bus, the windows would be washed every once in a while, or stimulus dollars would go to hire window washers for DDOT buses? Or floor cleaners, or rent-a-cop bus security, or bus shelters for us to stand when it snows or rains or is windy? Maybe our ex-elected officials, convicted of low crimes or misdemeanors, could wash bus windows as a community service instead of doing time in the penitentiary. Or serve food daily, 9 - 5, at soup kitchens.
Why is it the Detroit School Board has hired more school superintendents in the last ten years than the Detroit Lions have hired head coaches (while obtaining the same results)? Why is being a city council person a "second" job? Did the mayor or the city clowncil do a State of the City presentation this year, or is the condition of Detroit too dire to talk about? These are some of the issues we need to be informed about as we prepare for campaign and election season.
With all the shake-downs going on at the Detroit Pension Board, shouldn't the board members be elected by the people rather than appointed by elected officials? Maybe if they were elected, we wouldn't have so many elected officials and their staff members either in, or on their way to jail. And everybody at City Hall needs to have and carry their job qualifications and job specs. Every time I see one of them at a meeting, if that ever happens, they should, before they say hello, hand me a flyer with their job qualifications on one side and their job specs on the back. And their attendance record.
Why is it that God tells all of these candidates to run for office, but God never tells them to go to work once they get elected? Why do city clowncil people hold so many meetings in the CAY Muncipal Center where you'll have to pay $10 to park your car or you'll have to walk a mile to get there, instead of holding meetings in community centers (Northwest Activities Center, or Considine Little Rock Family Center, etc.) in the neighborhood where there are free parking lots? Particularly when clowncil people are driving city-owned cars and get parking they don't have to pay for.
Don't you just love it that another series of elections is coming up in the fall? Then we can make change we can believe in. Maybe we should recall a couple of elected officials next month just so we can get some voting practice and election workers can gain some election experience. Tom Barrow, unsuccessful candidate for mayor in the last city of Detroit election, still claims the clerk's office messed up the vote count and ballot security in November. Keep 'em honest, Tom, and if there's a new vote next Tuesday, just let me know. My voter registration card and resident photo ID are in my pocket. I'm locked and loaded for democracy.