Our democracy is founded on the principle of one person, one vote.
In asking David McKane to set aside his personal position in order to push through council business on a fast track, Mayor Lore Christopher left a giant boot print on this fundamental right. Moreover, she seems to have come to the conclusion that Keizer’s council president should be nothing more than a mouthpiece for the views of the majority.
In her assessment of McKane’s potential as a council president, Christopher asserts that the role of the council president and mayor is to “set aside … personal opinion (or votes) to support the majority of the council on decisions that have been made.”
She takes the view that McKane’s “no” vote on the cell phone fees provided aid and comfort to big telecoms in the battle and allowed them time to marshal their forces. In a battle as big as this one, the opposition was well-prepared before Keizer even took up the issue. In another matter, on a smaller battlefield, that additional window of time could prove invaluable to local residents learning the ins and outs of educating and organizing friends and neighbors. In those cases, that one vote could give them time to change people’s minds – even council members’ hearts.
The default position of the council president in recent years might have become that of the go-along-to-get-along, but it is not the one prescribed by the city’s charter. Maybe McKane wouldn’t have been able to swallow his dissent and speak about council business without a tinge of disdain, but, because Christopher chose to shut him down before he got the chance, we’ll never know.
The council president position should be elected by the council members, not bequeathed by a mayor hand-picking a successor. It all goes back to that whole one person, one vote thing.