Letter | Doug Dickmeyer: Does the City Council represent You?

Either you will control your government, or government will control you” – Ronald Reagan

At the Oct. 17 City Council Meeting, I attempted to address the council on agenda items and the need for Special Council Meetings. The city attorney, Carl Cooper, stopped me and said we were there to talk about agenda items, not past meetings. I replied I was talking about agenda items, but then the Mayor Monica Gates told me to move on.

I had questions why certain agenda items needed to have a special council meeting, and since the city attorney and the mayor would not let me make my point there, I will make them here.

1) Oct 3 at 1 p.m. Special Council Meeting agenda item removing City Manager John Dougherty from his office and placing him on paid leave. 2) Oct. 3 1:15 p.m. Special Council Meeting. Six important items and action taken, dealing with Kingman Crossing and Rancho Santa Fe projects. 3) Oct. 13 10 a.m. Special Council Meeting. Agenda item discussion and possible action of agreement with Applied Economics.

The timing of these meetings did not allow for most working citizens to attend, and with no public comment allowed, it tells me the council does not want the public to attend nor does it want the public’s comment on the issues.

According to the open meeting law, council meetings should be scheduled at a time that most citizens can attend, be informed, and make comments on the agenda items.

City Council, tell us why these agenda items couldn’t be addressed at a regular council meeting?

There is no reason these agenda items could not be addressed at a regular council meeting. Councilmember Lingenfelter and others called for these Special Council Meetings. I believe this is an attempt to approve and pass items with little to no public attendance and no public input.

Does the City Council want input from the citizens?

Here are four examples as to why I believe they do not.

1) TPT sales tax increase. Council should have had a town hall meeting prior to the vote to get input from the citizens, but they did not and made a decision on their own that affected everyone. 2) Interchanges. The council has had 17 agenda items so far on interchanges. No councilmember has called for a town hall to get public input. 3) Holding Special Council Meetings at times most citizens can not attend. 4) Refusing to answer questions from the public at council meetings.

During the Oct. 17 council meeting, agenda Item 5C was a discussion on Palo Christi for a new city complex. My comments were about why the school would not make a good city hall complex.

1) Not enough parking with city and police vehicles. You simply will run out of room. 2) No room for future expansion. 3) With only one street, this could cause traffic problems. 4) Impact on residents only feet away from complex traffic and overall congestion. 5) It’s the farthest you can get from today’s center of town with projected growth and new interchanges. The new center of the city is around Airway Avenue and Bank Street. 6) Some have said the city government is growing and running out of room. The fact is the city has 30 less employees than it did in 2007, and almost all of the 30 were administration positions.

The school wants to rid itself of this money pit and sell it to the city. It’s easier than putting it up for auction. Mr. Dutton offered to purchase it and preserve and restore the building.

The city needs to set priorities: police; fire; and road preservation should be priority one.

I started to ask council what is in the best interest of the city – to spend $30 million on a new city complex or an interchange. The mayor stopped me and said the council doesn’t answer questions. I responded, you don’t answer questions from the public? Frustrated I sat down.

Not long after we voted for this council to represent us, it became obvious you don’t represent us. You represent yourself.

You don’t ask us what we need or want you, but you want tell us what we need or want. The only voice you want to hear is your own.

At a previous council meeting we learned you don’t even intend to honor the vote of the people. Seventy percent of voters approved the sale of city property at Kingman Crossing with the intent to sell it to a developer who would build an interchange. Council has refused to direct staff to get an appraisal on the land or start the process to put it up for auction.

Now we realize there is a voting block, which allows members of council to put any item it wants on the agenda and pass it. No one can stop you, not the mayor, city manager or the citizens.

This country was formed around a Constitution starting with three simple words, We the People. Whether in court, at the ballot box with referendums, recalls, or just voting you out,

We the People of Kingman will take are city back.