We Say - Represent citizens and not yourself - The Explorer: Opinion

We Say - Represent citizens and not yourself

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:00 am

It’s been about a month now since the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to reallocate funds originally budgeted for District 1 roads to District 4 in the name of children’s safety.

After a month of the back and forth banter, I can say this is probably the result – District 1 residents are the losers, their Supervisor Ally Miller has learned nothing and the remaining four board members were wrong to take the action they did.

District 1 residents lost $872,000 in funding that was supposed to go to their district to fix roads. District 1 residents will continue to lose now and in the future as long as Miller refuses to start working with fellow board members. Does that mean it’s all her fault? No, but she has to do what’s best for residents.

Before Miller was elected, I said the “hulk angry” persona she put out was getting old. Well, now, here we are a year into her term, and it’s just plain getting ridiculous.

It’s a five-member board, nothing gets done without a majority vote. Are you really fighting for your constituents? That is a question all residents should be asking the District 1 supervisor.

The board did not break the law in voting to reallocate the funds. However, it was a clear slap in the hand, or even face, to Miller for questioning certain issues.

Miller is right – there is nothing wrong with seeing where the county can save, finding new ways to help her district. But, she is wrong in the manner she continues to do it.

I don’t believe for a second this was an emergency situation to fix Colossal Cave Road. If the road is in such dire need, why wasn’t the project scheduled when the current fiscal year budget was done? If it is such an emergency, why weren’t funds taken from all districts to do the project, rather than from the one supervisor who has become a thorn in the side of the other supervisors?

Besides punishing actual citizens for their supervisor fighting to get roads fixed in District 1, the board clearly forgot what professionalism meant during this meeting.

I first heard about what transpired during the Feb. 18 meeting when Miller was interviewed by Tucson’s popular Jon Justice show. When she described being constantly interrupted, disregarded and bullied, I thought she was exaggerating.

However, after watching the video, I would say she understated it.

Whether the other members of the board like Miller’s style or not, she was elected by the people, has a right to serve and has a right to ask questions. She rarely expressed a complete thought because she was interrupted, she was warned by board chairwoman Sharon Bronson more than once to watch her own behavior, and the other board members seemed genuinely pleased with themselves when they stripped all money from District 1 just to get back at Miller.

While I wouldn’t think this elected board would require this kind of training, after all, many of them have been there a while, I will say it anyway. You are the Pima County Board of Supervisors – you are there to take care of the entire county. Taking the “all for one and one for all approach”, or in this case, four against one approach is not in the best interest of the entire county. In fact, it’s in no one’s best interest.

As for Miller, taking the lone ranger approach isn’t going to win you any battles any time soon. Start attempting to work with these other board members, show that you are better.

—Thelma Grimes

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2 comments:

  • WanderingGuera posted at 12:37 pm on Thu, Mar 20, 2014.

    WanderingGuera Posts: 2

    John Flanagan, you just described the Founding Fathers' intended role of the press. Unfortunately, people are less and less willing to pay for their media, and good journalism costs money. I think Thelma just did a good job in this column, though, of exactly what you said we need.

     
  • John Flanagan posted at 8:54 am on Wed, Mar 19, 2014.

    John Flanagan Posts: 335

    I am convinced more and more than ever that government officials at all levels can be so petty and use their positions to defy one another at the expense of their constituent's welfare. We need to have the oversight of ombudsmen and citizen representatives to ensure transparency and efficiency, and we need to expose purely political backbiting which negatively influences government.

     

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