Editorial: We Need More Guts in Local Government
By Brandi Makuski
Ronald Reagan once called Lady Margaret Thatcher “The best man in England”.
Doubtful that many school children today will ever know the struggles of a woman in the male- dominated governments of merry old status quo England, and likely they never will. You kind of had to be there.
Thatcher forced her way into male- dominated politics not by making them change their game, but by playing the same game as the boys while wearing a skirt. She didn’t require they install gender- appropriate bathrooms or do away with their cigar and brandy social hour. The fact that she was a woman was secondary behind her politics, and it was her adherence to proper etiquette and public dress that got her recognized as a force of strength.
Plain and simple; she didn’t complain about being a victim. She didn’t require a slew of politically- correct laws recognizing the power of women because she didn’t see herself as being victimized. She took a lot of guff, but did so with grace and dignity, making her gender secondary to her effectiveness and power.
Thatcher fought endlessly with England’s unions, whose demands were crippling the British government. She sold government housing and privatized utilities and grew the GDP by 23 percent. She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thereby lower inflation, introduced cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditure on social services such as education and housing.
In short, she tightened the purse strings to save the country.
We need local representatives with the same guts Lady Thatcher had in life. We need more local representatives who are willing to question the status quo with dignity and with the voice of the people in their minds. We need men and women who will cast personal relationships and desires to the side and not back down to the mayor or the CDA.
We need council members who refuse to compromise until they have all the information. We need less “yes” and more “no”.
In the past two weeks, members of various boards, commissions and committees have stated for the record the were against a project they voted in favor of, which seemed to culminate in the words of an angered Mike Phillips, Tenth District Alderman at Monday’s Special Common Council meeting:
“So, before this agreement the CDA (Community Development Authority) could sell Edgewater without council approval or anything? How did you all let that happen? What’s going on here? The CDA can do anything they want to do? What’s going on here?”
Other alderpersons nodded in agreement with Phillips’ statement Monday night, but few have ever questioned the power of the CDA now that the mall’s legal problems are behind us. And based on Phillips’ statement, not all the alderpersons were aware of the purpose of the CDA, to say nothing of the voting public.
And that brings my favorite Lady Thatcher quote to mind:
“I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.”