Saturday, March 19, 2005

City Council: Who, us reform?

Blech.

Obviously, its old news, but City Council rejected ethical reforms.

Tom Ferrick had a wonderful column about the whole fiasco:

The bill, introduced by Councilman Michael Nutter, was a shadow of its former self by the time it came up for a vote yesterday. Still, Council wouldn't buy it.

Originally, the bill banned nepotism. Nutter took that out after Council members told him they couldn't support a bill that banned nepotism, because they were in favor of it.

Originally, the bill put a ban on outside employment by city workers, including Council people. That came out after Council said it wouldn't vote for a bill that banned outside employment.

Originally, the bill set up an ethics commission - with investigative powers - to oversee the operations of city government. That came out because City Council said it didn't like an independent ethics commission.

What was left was a bill that, in effect, limited the amount of political money firms that do business with the city could give political candidates.

Not enough votes

Nutter had hoped to muster the 12 votes he needed to get the legislation on the May primary election ballot - it needed voter approval because it would have changed the City Charter.

He got 11 votes. There were five "nays," and one Council member (an ailing Joan Krajewski) was absent.

....

Members complained that the bill had been amended so much it must be bad legislation.

They conveniently forgot that it had been amended so much because they insisted on the amendments.

Councilwoman Marian Tasco, one of the "no" votes, said she was unhappy because the bill covered nonprofits and the reporting requirements might impede their mission in helping needy children.

It's about the kids, see?

Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, another "no" vote, said she was worried that the law might apply to the little old ladies who volunteer for nonprofits and force them to report all their contributions.

That's absurd, but you've got to remember: Miller is dumber than a stick and that's the best excuse she could come up with.

Councilman Darrell Clarke, another "no" vote, said: "I'm for ethics. I'm for reform."

Just not the ethics and reform in the Nutter bill.

Clarke then said: Hey, I have an idea. Why don't we form a committee to look into drafting a new ethics bill!
The only way we are going to get real ethics reform is going to be to force every legislator to sign a pledge before the election, along the lines of the "no new taxes" pledges the Club for Growth people brutally enforce with Republicans.

Our Government shouldn't be a joke. But, unfortunately, the punchline rages on.

(Quick update- OK, I think it is probably a little mean of Ferrick to insult Donna Miller as he did. He was obviously furious, which I very much appreciate, because it comes from a passion for the City. Still... a little harsh.)

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