The People’s Business – 12/10/12 Oak Ridge City Council Meeting Summary

Many thanks to all who came out to the city council meeting last night. I’ve never seen that room so packed! I congratulate Mayor Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Miller on their re-appointments. At the end of this post, I’ve provided my comments made just prior to the vote regarding my position. You can read more about the meeting here and here.

Here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the non-administrative meeting items. This list is highly truncated so please consult official meeting minutes for a complete, official record:

Consent Agenda (All items passed unanimously)

  • A resolution approving awarding a bid for two replacement sewer pumps. Cost to taxpayer: $55,950
  • A resolution to apply for and accept a $66,791 Emergency Solutions Grant from TN Housing Development Agency. No local funding match required.
  • A resolution to hire a new veterinarian (replacing the previous one) for the animal shelter. Cost to taxpayer: $2,500 per month plus $45 per animal spayed or neutered. Some cost to be recovered through adoption fees which will revert back to original rate of $110 per adoption.

Resolutions (All but one passed unanimously)

  • Award contract to First Place Finish for demolition of 2 city owned residential structures. Cost to taxpayer: $17K+ each.
  • Adoption of (2) bond conversions. Cost to taxpayer: Administrative Fees of $30K; Savings for taxpayer: $160K per year for 5 years.
  • Adoption of a resolution to extend and modify water contract with DOE (a highly complex and poorly crafted document, according to those more knowledgeable than I whom I consulted). I was the only “no” vote on this issue. As I discussed here, I had some concerns about how this contract would benefit our citizens and businesses since they recently faced significant rate increases and likely will again in the near future. DOE, by this vote, will NOT face any additional increases for the next three years and will benefit from a locked in annual rate, regardless of usage within a 10% range. It is my opinion that the staff did not produce evidence of benefit to the citizens or businesses of Oak Ridge, thus my vote.

My Statement Regarding My Column on the Mayor Appointment

First, let me say that I appreciate ALL of the citizen input that I have received over the last few weeks. I firmly believe that a more engaged citizenry makes for better government.

From the moment I decided to run for this seat, I accepted the responsibilities, good and bad, that come with holding a leadership position. I do not have a vendetta against Tom Beehan. I have no personal grudge or problem with him as an individual. My arguments against his re-appointment were made strictly out of concern for the future of our city.

Though we’ve experienced some small victories as of late, Oak Ridge still faces a very uncertain future. With a 33% increase in spending, a 79% increase in our debt and a deficit every year for the last decade, we are in a steady state of decline in every possible way. If we are to change course, we must face the reality of our past mistakes.

And while our problems cannot be blamed on a single action or individual, the answer to the question of ultimate responsibility is clear. City council is the highest level of leadership within our city and the mayoral position is the head of this body. Led by him or her, we are ultimately accountable for this city’s success or failure.

I do not apologize for doing what I believe is in the best interest of our citizens nor do I expect Mr. Beehan to apologize for doing what he believed was in the best interest of our citizens. I do, however, expect each member of council to take personal responsibility for our actions and the results that come of them. Mr. Beehan has had a decade to lead us towards prosperity. That has not happened. It is time to give someone else that opportunity.

In closing, I would like to reassure the public and all of council that regardless of tonight’s vote, I am prepared to work with each of you towards the betterment of Oak Ridge. Thank you.

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4 thoughts on “The People’s Business – 12/10/12 Oak Ridge City Council Meeting Summary

  1. You fought to improve our government. The opposing forces decided to keep the Good Ol’ Boys in power. Your steadfast leadership will serve in motivating us to keep up the fight. Change might only be measured in small increments. A steady diet of repetitive and unrelenting pressure by those who seek fairness, transparency, and openness in political motivation WILL BRING ABOUT CHANGE. Keep fighting. You have fired the first rhetorical shot in the effort to steer this community in a different direction. You have inspired us to believe that values are worth fighting for.

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    1. The comments are iintresetng to read as well. Like that Karine chick/fellow. The same old fairy tale of boohoo, nuclear bombs so evil, evil Americans.So excuse my rant Just think how many innocent Chinese, Koreans and other Asians were butchered by fascist Japan. Unit 731 easily killed more people than both nukes. Just think how many innocent Japanese suffered at the hands of the fascists in Japan. Thousands of people disappeared in the prisons of the thought police never to be seen again. Hirohito himself even signed the order to murder Chinese POWs, which was the thing they based the order that triggered the Rape of Nanking on.It was war. Truman used a weapon that worked because it was war. It was total war. In 1943 Goebbels screamed at the Germans do you want total war?! and they all stood up and screamed yes! In Japan the similar things happened. Children as young as in elementary school were drilled into believing that the other countries were out to strangle Japan to death. That started long before the war. With the death of the Taisho emperor the fragile bloom of democracy died with him. With Hirohito fascism and militarism came. And even after the surrender some teachers continued to spread this nonsense.The nuclear bomb and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria ended the war. And thanks to this the woman I love doesn’t have to produce sons for the divine emperor and doesn’t have to labor in a munitions factory producing ammo for the war in China. My friends can live their lives in freedom and can do what they want. Thanks to it the guys among them aren’t stationed in a foreign country oppressing and murdering the citizens there in the name of some emperor. They haven’t been pulled out of university and turned into a student soldier because of it. They haven’t been ordered to fly a plane into an American carrier because of it. Japan today is free because of it. My niece won’t be given a hand grenade to kill herself and her friends with it because of these bombs.Btw, more people died in the fire bombing campaign than in both nukes. The effects of the radiation itself have been massively overplayed, usually with a political agenda in mind (there is evidence that the entire anti-nuclear and anti-war movement in the west had some massive Soviet donors.) The vast majority of the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were caused by the initial blasts, the heat, the fires resulting from it and the shock wave. The eyewitness reports and medical data is very clear there, leaving no room for radiation scare and nuclearphobia.And let’s not forget that every single hibakusha I know isn’t blaming the Americans. They blame the emperor and the fascists who surrounded and played him like a fiddle. It was Hirohito’s war, his name was on every order and every order was given in his name, even former soldiers blame him (one very outspoken veteran was IJNAF’s surviving ace Sakai Saburo.)We can argue about the military necessity of dropping both bombs, but even then, Truman did the right thing. The fascists were destroyed. Good riddance. Yes, a lot of innocent people died, but when you listen to the hibakusha, for some this was when they realized that they’ve been nodding along to a brutal regime for years. Let’s not forget: after the first big raid on Tokyo Hirohito’s only worries were 1) a possible Communist uprising against him (which was unlikely, because his secret police units had already dealt with those) and 2) the three imperial treasures. He didn’t care about the people. He saw the fires, smelled the burning wood and flesh and didn’t care. He continued to wage his war. Sure, some apologists, and some of them aren’t even Japanese fringe extremists (for example the assistant professor who teaches Japanese history here at university, who’s a white woman), claim that Hirohito had no real power, etc. That is irrelevant. He was the supreme commander, the responsibility was with him. That’s how a military hierarchy works. But he, and prince Asaka (the man practically ordering the Rape of Nanking -there was a colonel who later claimed he had forged Asaka’s order, but I’ve been dismissing this as BS, cause it leads to some questions: 1) why was the order never changed, 2) why was that colonel never punished; he simply took blame for his superior, which is a very specific thing in Japanese culture) walked away. If there was a crime in this whole affair, then it was how the US and her allies let Hirohito, Asaka and many other murderers (most famously Unit 731 command staff) walk away.Ok, I’m done.

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