If I had liveblogged it you might have gotten a picture of how crazy it was tonight, but I didn’t. There was so much emotion running around that room, it was palpable. It is obvious that we all feel passionately about what is going on. Let me run a few things down here.
One of the biggest complaints appears to be that the city pays 100% of employees’ health insurance and also a Christmas bonus, also known as longevity pay. This might be the biggest argument that I feel extremely passionate about myself. No, I am not employed by the city. My employer does make us pay a portion of our health insurance. My family pays $550 a month for health insurance through my husband’s employer. I have worked jobs where we got a Christmas bonus, I have worked jobs where we didn’t.
And here’s the thing. All these people stood up there tonight and said people are having a hard time feeding themselves (a sentiment that believe it or not, I GET. Before I got this job we were struggling, really struggling. We had to eat a lot at my mom’s house or have a lot of mac and cheese and pb&js. I could gladly never eat another peanut butter sandwich again. Seriously.) yet they wanted the city to cut benefits for the city employees. And do away with their bonuses.
Tell me this, if you are so empathetic to people who an extra $10-15 per month on the taxes and an extra, I don’t know, $15-25 per month on water, if you care so much about these people, why would you want to hurt the city employees by taking away their bonuses or making them pay in for their health insurance? Do they not count? Are they not as important as these people who are supposedly losing their houses because of the tax and water increase?
Look, I’ll be completely honest with you, I have a lot of friends who are city workers. I suppose you gathered that already, but here’s the thing. In any case, I always support employee’s rights. But these people who work for the city are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. They aren’t making fortunes here, working for the city. They’re just regular working class people who work hard at their jobs and are decent people. And they are UNDERPAID!! The good benefits do a bit to make up for that, that is why I oppose doing away with their benefits. How can you keep good people if there is no real incentive to work there?
So yes, that issue fires me up like no other. I can understand people questioning the tornado sirens. I can see people questioning why the fire department is run by an outside company instead of by the city. I can understand a LOT of the things people are voicing. But for God’s sake, if you are so worried about money why in the HELL would you want to take money away from one of your fellow members of the working class????????
There was a guy who stood up and mentioned that this city has never been big on planning. I was with him until he questioned over and over and over what was the plan now. Seriously, dude? The packet they handed out has the whole 5 year + plan on there. I will try to scan and upload the whole packet tomorrow for all of you to see it.
I was very proud of Alderman Broeker who was far more patient than I ever could have been. If a person came to the meeting with an open mind and really listened, they learned a lot about what is going on with this city and why a gradual increase was not feasible. I thought Mayor Mosley explained things beautifully and she cut right through certain people’s bullshit. Good for the both of you. Alderman Waldron gave me the biggest laugh I had of the night with “Can you repeat the question?” Thanks, Waldron. Vice Mayor Farmer and Alderman Green didn’t seem to have much to say, unfortunately.
And to the people who mentioned how they keep getting “attacked” on my website. Disagreeing is not attacking. Debating vigorously is not attacking. I have moderated message boards and blog sites since 1999 and believe me, I know a personal attack when I see it. I pull the comments when I see them, on BOTH sides of the argument. If you make a statement on the internet, be prepared to defend it, unless you hang out in places where people only agree with you.
The fact is, you can talk shit about my website and how terrible me and all my commenters are and even mention to people what a mean person I am. I don’t care. I’ll keep writing this website and I will continue to bring you the news and events as I find out about them, and you can read it or not. I wrote for this website when we had 10 readers and I write for it still when we have thousands. And if you all decide to stop reading tomorrow, it won’t break me. The people I care about reading me, will read me.
I really wish there could be some common ground that we could all meet up on and try to work things out, but as long as people continue to act the victim and continue to be unreasonable, I don’t see how it can happen. But being able to come together is what I pray for this city every day. Every day.