Fact. Fiction. Personality. Policy. Truth. Deception.
This post fits into one of these "tags". Which one will be determined by whoever reads it. And as we approach the final days before Lakeland's historic city election, we will be asked more and more to find a fit for our vote.
Here, at The City Zen Ship - we (the editorial "we", that is) believe that more information is better and that if everyone who can vote does vote, we will have the best outcome. So inform yourself however you choose, but above all, vote!
This part of the post may be properly tagged as "personal".
Last night (Wednesday, October 18) Matt Doster, spokesman for the Committee for a Strong Lakeland, made an assertion in his final remarks that deserves a little more light:
Doster suggests that, beyond the basic change of governance, the committee is also proposing a reform package to reduce waste and cut back some of the high salaries paid to city executives.
"... some of the senior administrators who are taking money away from cops, and firemen, and electrical linemen, and some of the people who are working the lines for Lakeland's city government."
Please read that again. Or watch the video starting at about 46 minutes in.
Now please consider this: no one is being asked to vote on a "reform package". It's not on the ballot. The election issue is about the form of governance. Changing it won't produce reform, merely change. Whoever we elect will be responsible for managing the city at every level and will respond to the citizenship's desire for reforms of every kind.
And now ... do you remember Doug Thomas? Oh yes you do. And the committee wants you to. He is the most prominent example of the failure they point to, and serves as the primary rationale behind the committee's proposition. He is the bogey man for the "Strong Mayor" movement.
During the FY2016 budget planning session in May of 2015, Mr. Thomas repeated a threat he had made more than once, that if the proposed "Fire Fee" was not instituted, the city would not have enough money to hire any more ... wait for it ... cops. Cops! The trigger word for citizens' fear.
Do as asked, or suffer the consequences of a reduction in public safety.
Matt Doster and Doug Thomas. Strange bedfellows indeed. Make what you will of all of this, and vote according to how it informs you.