Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tennessean Bell Boy to the Council's Honeymoon

Tennessean reporters Colby Sledge and Michael Cass give returning Metro Council Members a microphone in a Sunday morning story on the prospects of a less rocky relationship with Karl Dean than with Bill Purcell. Some of the more conservative members take their turns pointing the finger of blame for the lack of mesh at Mr. Purcell while expressing expectations of a different relationship with Mr. Dean.

While there is merit in simply allowing council members to dictate the direction of their story (in fairness Purcell refused to comment), the reporters end up omitting other causes of the drama. For instance, the interviewed Council Members like Charlie Tygard, Michael Craddock, and Jim Gotto seem unwilling to admit that the last Metro Council often acted insufferable and rude. On so many issues they acted with a sense of entitlement like they were a co-executive branch with their own clear-cut agenda against the Mayor's Office.

But legislators are hardly executives, especially under the Metro Charter, and the intiatives that begin as legislation are hardly clear-cut, let alone consensual. And quite frankly, the last Council expressed a good bit of contempt and hatred toward the very government on which they sit. Instead of making Metro better, a critical mass of them chose the easy line of parroting how bad local government is. And that became a self-fulfilling prophesy for the Council itself, which rarely did anything very effective. And in itself that is enough to sour any Council-Mayor relationship.

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