How about also sending us the sample ballot to arrive in your mailbox on the same day as the absentee ballot? Not enough? Why not send us a ballot for eleven, yes, that’s 11, items to vote on all at the same time? Why not also provide nearly no information on any of the ballot items and no place for one to look to find out details, perspectives, and discussions because this information does not exist anywhere? Sad, huh?
One of the ironies about the explanation that came with the sample ballot was a comment on allowing “more time for voter notice to allow absentee voting.” More time is certainly needed; to be sure, city staff may be required to do something they couldn’t do with this ballot, i.e., getting it out on time.
I wish I could apologize to every Davenport voter, because I served on the committee that came up with these amendments. I, however, did not have the chance to review the ballot nor account for it tardiness nor for the absence of adequate information for voters nor for the fact that the committee was terminated without notice.
When I count all my frustrations with this election, I realize that each of them is the reason I need to vote. It’s the reason why I’m going to tell you, “Vote,” and the reason I plan to tell you, below, how I think you should vote and why, so you can be a better Davenport voter too.
Each of my responses below is not only my own opinion but is also a response to an email sent by Davenport Concerned Citizens (DCC) on January 5, 2017. Click here to read through opposing views. I advise you to have a sample ballot with you while reading through this list. It’s all so confusing …
Amendment ONE — Vote NO
This is an easy one: Considering the number of changes being requested, this amendment should have been thrown out as unnecessary, at least for now.
Amendment TWO – Vote YES
Given Davenport’s extraordinary progress over the past few years, I can’t say it any more succinctly than this: I wish to keep the leadership that has made all these local improvements possible, including Crystal Williams and Bobby Lynch. I’m with them: Vote YES.
Amendment THREE – Vote YES
Can’t disagree with DCC on this; compliance is always good.
Amendment FOUR – Vote YES
Here’s where I disagree with DCC. While they are correct to suggest that this amendment is “unnecessary,” it’s not for the reason they suggest. What’s unnecessary is language in our Charter that is redundant to state law. I will vote YES on Four.
Amendment FIVE – Vote NO
It’s true, our commissioners do meet twice a month. They’re workload is rising, but to commit them to two meetings a month without adequate compensation is simply too much.
Amendment SIX – Vote YES
Another area on which I disagree with DCC. This amendment would do little more than make it more flexible for our commissioners to set prices on publication of documents for the public. The city needs to get on board with the fact that it is not a crime for a city to make a little spare change from having to print anything for the public. Likewise, I hope staff will start getting all this important information out to the public via their currently low-content website.
Amendment SEVEN – Vote YES
I love this amendment the most. It puts our city manager appropriately in the administrative position relative to the our city mayor, the one throughout the history of Davenport, who acts as the city’s real “chief executive officer.” Voting YES would strengthen our Mayor’s position, make your vote count even more, and ensure our current city manager, Amy Arrington, is working at 100% capacity for the people.
Amendment EIGHT – Vote YES
By all appearances, it always seems to me that our city clerk gets the brunt (and the bull) when it comes to workload. Fortunately that’ll change soon, since commissioners have offered to let our clerk get an assistant (like yesterday). This is a position that requires critical thinking skills, absolute precision, management and interpersonal skills and someone with that level of experience. To meet the city’s growing needs, it’s imperative that we have someone in that position with an advanced degree or equivalent experience. Thank you, Raquel Castillo, our current clerk, for all you do.
Amendment NINE – Vote NO
After some of my experiences on the Charter Review Committee, I must say about our attorney, Señior Kirk Warren Esquire, that — in spite of the fact that HE IS:
- Cute as a button,
- Literally way too soft-spoken during public meetings, and
- Scared of being targeted by gun-toting, bomb-slinging aliens passing through our town; those aliens then suddenly realizing — with the blink of an eye — to target a bus-load of city commissioners and a mayor, which was being protected by a rolling parade of cops in the middle of Nowhere, U.S.A.¹
With that list now listed, I’ll say that I’m all in for reigning in our city attorney. Enough said?
Amendment TEN – Vote YES
One more area with which I disagree with DCC. I believe that voting YES would minimize what happened during last year’s Charter review: too many changes requested at one time. A constitution, like our city Charter, is a living document and must be reviewed periodically.
Amendment ELEVEN – Vote YES
The difference between the effective date being today and it being February 13 is a matter of two weeks. Is this really an issue? Two weeks? Really?
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¹ Jan. 2017 Commissioners Bus Retreat/Tour of Davenport.