playing at City Hall on Tuesdays at 6 p.m., albeit on a smaller
stage. Who gets to vote? Will we prevent a monarchy? Who will pay our
debts? Will we have freedom of speech? How can we hold government
accountable? Will we have checks and balances? It is a smorgasbord of
human governance as old as civilization.
Imagine yourself as a high school history or government teacher
today, then asking the question, "What is the most important concept
I want these kids to take with them for the rest of their lives?" or
"What are the most meaningful lessons of our history?" Put away for
now the 400-page page textbook. "For what noble goals and ideals will
they be willing to give up their lives or pursue a life of public
Today, our City Council appears to laugh at the core values of our
fragile democracy and appear to have a ready answer: Freedom of
speech? It's irritating. Freedom of assembly? Not if it goes against
our policies. No taxation without representation? Council districts
are a lame idea.
Power, privilege and petulance have been the core attributes of
the ruling since well before Cicero. The more things change the more
they remain the same. Our founding fathers would laugh at the absurd
concoction we dreamed up for city governance. No checks and balances.
Three out of five will take credit if the outcome is good. None will
take the blame if something goes bad.
Call it a troika, call it a junta, call it lack of accountability.
Nearly half the Glendale population lives south of Glenoaks
Boulevard yet no city councilmen reside there.
The most significant housing, planning, and development decisions
for the last several years deal with that area and as soon as
advocates and activists form to complain of unfair policies,
retaliation is the outcome.
Today, campaign contributors hold an imbalance of influence
matched only by public employee unions. It takes $100,000 dollars to
win a council election today. So, we have only three constituents
that really matter to council. A look at forms 460 (The campaign