My wife and I poured ourselves a glass of wine and turned on NCTV to watch the Nevada City Council meeting Wednesday night — hometown theater.
Short of setting up a Tiki bar in the back of council chambers — a money-maker in a recession—this is the most relaxing way to watch the drama unfold. You also can blog the outcome in real time.
The highlights: You can’t fight City Hall, so the outcome on disbanding the city’s finance committee was a foregone conclusion — despite some opposition. In most small-town governments, the staff directs the council, not the other way around.
I hope a plan to form a new “citizen’s advisory committee,” as well as depend more on City Hall staff to help guide the council, works out.
But it was disturbing to see the staff errors that were corrected throughout the meeting: in the minutes, as well as a housing report. (In one case, the sales-tax rate from Measure S — common knowledge — was stated incorrectly.)
I’m all for working together, but our “public servants” need to be more careful in their work. We put our trust in them. City Hall jobs, and the benefits that go with them, are among the highest-paying jobs in a rural area.
Too often I kept hearing about how the council was a “volunteer” group, but we depend on them to be our “watchdogs” on complex matters. Some people might be offended, but you need to ask tough questions.
We also elected our Treasurer, who sits on the finance committee. I was disappointed to see this item on the “consent agenda.” People want an open debate — without having to ask for it.
Most people attending the meeting were the regulars. Here’s a thought: What if people who watched on TV from home could “twitter” some questions to the council during the public comment period?
It would add an extra dimension — and maybe some more thoughtful dialogue — to the proceedings.