Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of perceived local governance dysfunction...and chocolate?!?

It's no secret that there is a fairly wide-spread perception that there's legacy dysfunctionality at City Council. (For the sake of this discussion, I'm willing to limit the time-frame to that during which the PanAm Games Stadium Site Selection Process has been going on.) I don't have a good enough grasp on the 'proof', haven't formed a qualified opinion, so I'm not going to weigh in here. (Though the impressions I have gotten are slowly coalescing into something I wouldn't classify as 'positive'. These, combined with my thoughts on the general state of many Councillors' 'performance' in meetings will be the subject of an upcoming piece.)

But the article 'Council Needs Concrete Goals to Overcome Personality Conflicts' over at Raise the Hammer by journalist Joey Coleman raises some valid questions that have to do with this 'perception of dysfunctionality'.

As a result of this article, an email crossed my desk with a comment in it that I felt compelled to pass along in an abridged and paraphrased form, if only because while it acknowledges the painful truth of 'bad behaviour', it takes a less strident approach than, say, something from my fingertips might have. The visual alone made me chuckle.

Why does Council have this reputation? Well, keeping in mind that the complexities of human nature are difficult to comprehend on the best of days, try this recipe: Take 16 type double A personalities with a super saturated male ratio. Mix in a select few residents, who expect councillors to daily justify their existence, or at least their pay cheques. Toss in some picante (and often overbearing) seasoning in the form of 'the media', include an ever-increasing barometric pressure triggered by high taxes, add a dash of vanity, a sprinkle of hubris, some freshly-chopped distrust and maybe a pinch of paranoia, agitate every other Wednesday for two hours, rest under heat lamps, and voila! A human lava cake ready to blow."

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I'm always interested in feedback, differing opinions, even contrarian long as they're delivered with decorum...with panache and flair always helping.