Apparently we've hit a nerve.
References to "the Internet" and "Facebook" were made at the city council meeting Monday night, quite obviously referring to this blog and the Facebook group Hillsdale's Hot Debates... and not exactly with glee or in a pleasant tone.
They don't like that we're holding them accountable, and that's why we can't stop.
Despite the obvious municipal code violations -- and I challenge city attorney Lew Loren to explain why the obvious violations are perfectly okay ("because I say so" is not a valid answer) -- the city council went ahead and approved David Mackie as the new city manager by all but one vote, the lone dissent coming from Mayor Scott Sessions (whom I thank for his decision).
So now, as long as he accepts the job -- I understand he's still waiting to hear back from Farmington -- David Mackie is our new city manager. You know, the guy who filed for bankruptcy and had to defend highly questionable financial practices in a court of law? Yeah... he's set to become our city manager now.
Does that not demonstrate outright contempt for you, the people of the City of Hillsdale?
We cannot stop.
I'm encouraged... and not only because I woke up to see that my last post had over 500 page views by Tuesday morning (though I do thank you for the ego boost... as if I needed it, right?).
I'm encouraged because you are motivated.
Whether or not you agreed with what I said about civic apathy in this city, it motivated you to prove me wrong, and that was exactly the goal. I said so at the very end of the post in question.
But this isn't about me, despite the fact that they're trying to make it about me. Have you noticed how they've been attacking me and my credibility?
It's not about me. I know it and they know it. If it were about me, they would have been attacking me before I ever said word one.
No, this is about them and their disdain for you.
See, the good ol' boys, they don't like that you've been informed. They don't like that you're getting the information that they're withholding from you. They don't like that you're learning what they've been doing behind your back this whole time. And they're attacking me -- and the people at Hot Debates who dug up the information in the first place -- for bringing it to your attention. Make no mistake about it: if it had been John Doe who had written that post, they'd be saying exactly the same things about John Doe.
It's not personal to them, it's just business. Business being guided by the current city manager and the city attorney into a cesspool.
And you need to be the ones to put an end to it.
Oh, don't worry, I'm not trying to be the commander of the forces here. That's the last thing I want. Besides, as we all know, you are not my personal army.
No, all I can ask of you is that you think critically and participate actively. We can disagree on any given issue. You can dislike my style. And hey, feel free to think that I'm just some arrogant jerk who spouts off when he shouldn't. You wouldn't be alone, and that's okay, because none of that matters.
All that matters here is that you care enough about this city to participate in making it a better place.
Because that's what's been lacking. That's why we have four city council seats and a city clerk position open with no one filed to run for them. That's why this city manager search was able to be conducted for so long with no one to ask any questions about why we're not getting any details about it or any of the candidates. That's why the council chamber is usually pretty empty during meetings.
We haven't been paying attention, and we were apathetic.
For most of the residents, it's because they just plain didn't care. And let's face it: the majority of any population is politically inactive. That's never going to change.
For the rest of us, it's frustration. We've been so beaten by the system for so long that we simply gave up thinking that there was ever going to be anything we could do about it.
Like I said in my last post, I include myself in this. I'm just as guilty as you are, and I readily and ashamedly apologize to you for not doing more than I could have. I will do better.
I can only ask that you do better, as well.
Beat the damn doors in. Don't give up. It's not over until you make it right, and even then, it'll be a constant battle just to keep things right. That's the nature of politics, no matter what the scale. Don't relent. Keep fighting.
The best way to do that is to start attending city council meetings. You can download the packets for all regular meetings and watch live and archived video of those meetings by following this link.
Let's once again prove Hillsdale's motto true: It's The People.