City Councilman Tim Leigh said he stands by his belief that eleventh-hour citizen comments on the 2012 budget serve little value.
“By this time in the budget process, any changes brought by special pleading by special interests should not be seriously considered,” Leigh wrote Tuesday in a special edition of his electronic newsletter.
Leigh issued the special edition after he was criticized by former Mayor Lionel Rivera for saying that a hearing Thursday to solicit public input on the budget was a waste of time. Rivera said Leigh was making a “mockery” out of his job as a councilman.
Leigh said Rivera was speaking out of context because he didn’t know that he’s planning regular town hall meetings to solicit public input going forward.
“I would accept the former mayor’s apology,” Leigh wrote.
In a brief telephone interview, Rivera said he had already expressed his opinion.
“I made my opinion known, and I’ll leave it at that,” Rivera said.
Here’s the full text of the message that Leigh sent Tuesday morning:
Pay attention. Be informed. Make a difference. Keep it real.
As the fetching Mrs. Leigh retrieved Tolstoy from the front lawn this morning, (narrowly avoiding a sever back strain (sheer volume and weight)), she noticed “looks like you’re in the paper again”. . . Daniel – you little rascal.
I stand by what I said. Here’s what I said:
The broad majority of the citizens should be insulted that a small, shrill minority can change a well-planned budget crafted by professionals who have the full complement of context to balance cause and effect.
I did not insult anyone. That’s merely the former mayor’s inference. The former mayor’s no longer “in office” and therefore not fully engaged in the community conversation except from the 3rd row. He’s not aware of the program I’ve been working on for months, where we’d host regular town hall meetings enabling every citizen to become engaged in policy conversations early enough in the game so their input would have value and impact. I would accept the former mayor’s apology.
We need to raise the budgeting process conversation to an adult level where we actually plan our finances and live within our means. We need to quit “doing it the way we’ve always done it”.
Once we can prove that we can live within our means, we can think about rebuilding our base with appropriate investments in infrastructure and personnel.
Here’s an idea – folks who can be so easily swayed on large issues because of “politics of the day” should consider an alternative career path.
Agree or disagree – become part of the conversation.