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Agenda 2013 - Three Cheers for Mr. Nick

How refreshing to find a council member who thinks he's a representative of the people

Last week I complained about the ghosts of councils past visiting the new city council. Specifically, the re-appearance of voting for programs for special interests (i.e., people and businesses who gave money to council members’ re-election committees), distorting the truth, and poor decision making concerned me. But there was one thing at the new council meeting that did impress me and it deserves as much attention as those old nasty ghosts.

In his long explanation of why he was voting not to repeal the ban on sex offenders in parks, new Council member Adam Nick talked about the informal survey he took. He claimed to have asked nearly 300 people what their opinion was about the ban, and the vast majority of them were in favor of the ban. Nick explained that with so many people of the same mind, his role as a representative of the people prompted him to vote to keep the ban.

Holy smokes.

Here is a council member who

a. Thinks he’s a representative of the people
b. Actually goes out of his way to ask people what they think
c. Tries to vote as a representative of the people

All I can say is – Three Cheers for Mr. Nick

What a refreshing change from the old Imperial council, a council who did whatever THEY wanted to do, regardless of public opinion, which they almost never bothered to assess, and on those few occasions in which the public gave their unsolicited opinion, the Council managed to ignore it and sometimes to do exactly the opposite of what people were asking them to do.

Of course public opinion should not be the only factor in decision making. Often the public does not have all the facts. Often the public can be swayed by ephemeral issues. The best government is a government where intelligent leaders gather facts, engage the public, and make good long term decisions. Public opinion is only one factor, BUT it is a factor, and how memorable it was to find it played so important a role in Nick’s decision making process.

(Note to Adam Nick: you’re on the right track, but I’m not sure that your personal polling efforts are what most people would consider a valid measure of public opinion. Let me suggest you work with the staff and create a public opinion assessment mechanism for the City’s website where major issues can be discussed.

Also, I’m not sure that voting to keep a ban on sex offenders using parks was the right move to make (a) in the light of so many opinions that the ban was unconstitutional, (b) that continuing the ban was going to be very expensive and ultimately fruitless, (c) that to date no one could show any benefits from the year-long ban, (d) the evidence that most sex offenders are not child molesters, and (e) the fact that child abductions from parks are so rare. But, laying aside the wisdom of the decision itself, how refreshing it was to see someone on the council paying attention to public opinion).


Bottom line – Thank you Councilman Nick for showing us that while the council may still be haunted by the nasty ghosts of councils past, there is some new blood flowing through the City’s veins.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

JustUs January 04, 2013 at 10:04 PM
"The first part of this blog post seems like it was authored by your "evil twin". What I said was TRUE and I explained why it was TRUE. It seems that you have a problem with the TRUTH sometimes too! But you do bring up some good points for which I commend you.
Jim Gardner January 04, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Hi Gimli, I agree with you on Nick's talk. Robinson too. Mayor McCullough let them drone on and as you saw, people started to leave. There should be a limit on council members' comments just as there is on public comments. McCullough herself is known to drone on from time to time, so I guess she felt she could hardly stop them given her own behavior. I also agree with you and JustUs in terms of the decision. The council never should have approved the ban in the first place and it was appropriate for them to repeal it. I don't agree with Robinson and Nick on this issue. But I repeat that I found it refreshing for a sitting council member to say that he is a representative of the people, to take the time to do a survey (flawed though it was), and base his vote on public opinion (even while I disagree with him). In response to my tete-a-tete with JustUs I have already asked The Patch to set up a valid way to measure public opinion on issues like this, and I volunteered to help them get it started. At the end of the day we don't want to be ruled buy public opinion, but I think educating the public and getting their feedback is an important part of the democratic process.
JustUs January 05, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Based upon my observations I have formed the opinion that Adam Nick is a very controlling politician who loves the limelight and to be center stage. I watched him closely during the Candidate's Forum. He put the moderators in a very uncomfortable position by refusing to comply with their instructions. He went on and on about subject matter that was not related to the questions asked. He appeared very defiant. And when I watched him at this last meeting he went on and on...as Gimli said "close to half an hour only to come to the conclusion that he does not have an opinion." These long diatribes and seem to be a pattern. And they make me uncomfortable. And Nick claimed to be sworn to our US Constitution yet defied the message and wisdom of our lower courts that ruled the park ban to be unconstitutional by voting to fight the RSO lawsuits with city taxdollars. Mom and Dad taught me the 'stink test' as a young boy. They told me if something doesn't smell right, to examine it carefully visually. If it doesn't make any good sense - toss it out. IMO there is a terrible disconnect here between Nick's words and actions. I would do my parents a huge disfavor by ignoring my gut instinct here. I will watch him closely on the political stage. If this behavior continues he will lose all my trust. I hope those close to him are giving him honest feedback. Sorry. I must provide my opinion on this matter.
Jim Gardner January 05, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Hi again, I agree. We need to watch them all closely and be sure that they give us the type of government we want. Thanks to you and several other people and to The Patch, local government has never been under such scrutiny. I think this is a good thing.
JustUs January 05, 2013 at 04:29 AM
And I second your thanks to The Patch, Jim. I love the local coverage - although it's not quite as thorough as I would like. But the freedom of expression and speech is wonderful. It's truly a blessing. And I get down on my hands and knees in gratitude to be able to participate. It truly is the American way. When they take that away from us we are in deep, deep trouble. The politicians need to know that we have them under a microscope. If they do their jobs right, tell the truth and act in the interest of our citizens - they have nothing to worry about. But if we catch them in lies and false promises, they will have hell to pay. Being a Councilman is not being a 'King'. It is being a representative who is supposed to protect our interests. I think some on the board might think they're 'Kings' because they had the money to buy a seat. I am here to tell them that such an attitude is destined to fail. Accountability, humility, integrity, service w/o expecting personal paybacks and sacrifice are the keys to holding elected office. I could count on one hand the politicians I recall in a lifetime who upheld these standards.

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