More Empathy

Well, this is weird (pdf p. 74).

Ald. Gallagher stated that given the current economic conditions, the City needs a positive outlook. He implored all to stop “sniping” at one another, and encouraged people instead to get involved. He also suggested that citizens can contact the Mayor to serve on a committee.

Alderman Gallagher used to be the one alderman you could count on to use the Reports & Communications portions of the meetings for actual ward reports. Now, he’s using the time to implore people to stop picking on him, or something. Hmm.

Not that I think Mr. Gallagher’s hurt feelings have anything to do with me, but for the record, I proudly served on a city commission under Mayor Van Buer and if asked by this mayor, I would see it as the honor it is, and consider it seriously.

Meanwhile, if Council is generally tired of criticism, it should change how it reacts to it. Instead of plugging its ears and griping about snipers, it should go back about two years and fact-check everything the critics have had to say. In spring 2008 the critics said the skating rink was a bad idea and that the city was going to face layoffs in a year. Both have been proven right. In spring 2009 the critics said the surplus was a mirage and that the city’s financial situation was going to be worse by 2010 — right again. In a just world based on performance measures, there’d be a little respect shown by now.

That there isn’t means the worst is yet to come — probably beginning on Monday, when Council will approve the issuance of $12 million in general obligation bonds. This, ladies and gentlemen, for a so-called Central Business District that generates less than 10% of DeKalb’s sales tax revenues (pdf p. 22). This, ladies and gentlemen, in the face of free-falling revenues and the threat of a state spigot shut-off and a known shortfall that is compelling the City of DeKalb to give the heave-ho to up to 30 employees as if they were so much ballast.

It makes me kind of sick. If saying so also makes me a sniper, so be it.