Fact-checking Czajkowski (again)

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who tell me they don't see a huge difference between Mark Kleinschmidt and Matt Czajkowski. These folks usually describe themselves as "progressive" (as do I, for the record) but they say they're voting for Matt based on some single issue. Let me tell you, folks, I believe there is a huge difference between these two mayoral candidates, and I think anyone who is concerned with social, racial, or economic justice will find themselves disappointed in a Czajkowski mayoralty.

One of my biggest problems with Matt has been that I think he takes credit for work he didn't do (and sometimes doesn't even understand). And while he's quick to criticize policies, I don't see him doing much to find workable solutions that can actually be implemented in Chapel Hill.  Recently I received a mailer from Czajkowski that was so full of arrogant and misleading statements that I just couldn't believe he had the nerve to publish it. Let's review:

"Matt Czajkowski: A leader for the entire community

"Matt Czajkowski saw that fiscal sustainability was a critical issue well before others did. He was the first to publicly call for a new vision for growth. And he's been the strongest advocate for taking the steps to make downtown a place we can all enjoy.

"He has the courage to challenge town expenses. He was the only council member to vote against giving the council lifetime healthcare benefits. And, he has promised that he will ask the council to freeze property taxes for the next two years.

"Matt Czajkowski has pleaded with his fellow council members to consider a broad anti-panhandling law for downtown and has consistently said we need to add more parking.

"As mayor, Matt will insist that the interests of the entire community are heard."

Matt didn't even attend a Council meeting until two years ago, when the Council had been working on fiscal responsibility for years, so he was actually pretty late to that party. For example, in 2005 the Council created the Citizens Budget Review Committee to recommend cost-saving measures. Also, the Planning Board was calling for the town to update the Comprehensive Plan or create a vision statement long before Matt was paying attention.

Matt was the only Council member to vote against lifetime benefits when it was first proposed on the Council's Consent agenda (what was Foy thinking?), but in no way was he alone in speaking out against it, and in fact the Council was unanimous in reversing the policy when it was brought back before them.

Every time I read him talking about including "the entire community," I just keeping thinking that he doesn't really mean everyone. For example, what about folks who are having such a tough time making ends meet that they are forced to live on the streets or ask strangers for money? He certainly has never indicated that he will work to represent people like me who disagree with him on many issues.

By the way, this mailer was a modest black-and-white, half page. What is Czajkowski using the rest of that $20,000 for?



I have to wonder why so many people are creating topic after topic criticizing Matt instead of publicizing Mark's strengths. Is this election about helping Mark win or just making sure Matt loses?

I guess I thought they were obvious. The folks I've talked to who are thinking bout voting for Matt (admittedly not a representative sample) tell me they like Mark very much, and that they'd vote for him for mayor under "different circumstances." This is why I want to make sure that people know that there is a big difference, and that their vote is not just symbolic.I think a lot of people are blaming Mark for the way that Kevin Foy (and Bill Strom) ran the Council. There seemed to be more emphasis on agreement than democracy sometimes. I complained about it here on OP, although maybe not as much as I could have. (In fact, I created a new category about exactly this: "The Democracy Problem.")  But it's ridiculous to blame Mark for Kevin's mistakes.I will work on another post about Mark so we can talk about all of his wonderful qualities as well. ;-)

Are there really all that many OP topics criticizing Matt Cz?  I count three.I looked at the OP archive for the last 32 days and classified each topic as Pro or Anti Czajkowski, Pro or Anti Kleinschmidt and neutral/unrelated.  If you repeat the exercise yourself, then you might classify some of these a little differently than I have (four of them are admittedly debatable, although even these cut both ways).The upshot is that there have been 2 Pro-Czajkowski topics, 3 Anti-Czajkowski topics, 4 pro-Kleinschmidt topics.  Not especially lopsided, given that anyone can create a topic with the click of a button.Here's my classification of posts since October 1, 2009:Pro-Czajkowski: 2 Town Council Candidate Endorsements on Chapel Hill Watch - jondehart my "endorsements" - jcb  Anti-Czajkowski: 3 Fact-checking Czajkowski (again) - Ruby Sinreich Non-endorsements: Who I am NOT voting for... - Cam Hill Czajowski's Attitude Toward Homeless Disconcerting - rectormsw  Pro-Kleinschmidt: 4 Family Man? - aleiro Foy Endorses Kleinschmidt - Dan Coleman Pro-environment and Pro-business are not mutually exclusive - Brooks Rainey Sierra Club Endorsements - Tom Jensen  Anti-Kleinschmidt: 0  Unrelated or neutral posts: 48CROSSPOST: Landscape, Memory, and East54 - Mark Chilton Too much time on your hands? Read this! - Ruby Sinreich Endorsement lists - Ruby Sinreich Another Telephone Poll - Anne B FOBC Award to Mayor Mark Chilton - Dan Coleman Pundit of the Year 2009 - Ruby Sinreich Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics - UNCLibrary Farmers Prefer Orange County Jurisdiction - Terri Buckner Is Will Raymond's Pamphlet Misleading? - czei Vote No - yes??? - brynsmith Call it what It is: Free Land - MJ Justice United meeting last night - MaryAnneGucciardiThe most important endorsement - Ruby Sinreich Helping Homeless Men - Terri BucknerAfrican-American Representation on the Chapel Hill Town Council - Mark Chilton Peace for Yonni - Ruby Sinreich Signs 2009 - jcb Weaver Street Market Annual Meeting - Jason Baker How the Town of Chapel Hill stole Halloween - zachward Zero Waste as a Mainstream Proposition - Rickie White Do letters-to-the-editor campaigns work? - Priscilla Murphy Rural Orange: Talking Trash Survey - Mike Swaim Community Assembly on Education - jcb Seeking leaders with chutzpah - Ruby Sinreich PTA Council School Board Forum: An Endorsement for Gucciardi - Jeff Danner And the Applicants Are - Fred Black PACT on Community Radio - PACT Did You Know? Updated - MaryAnneGucciardiNational Equality March & Presidential Speech - Jake Gellar-Goad Carrboro Election - jackhaggerty Durham-Orange Friends of Transit organizing meeting - gercohen Town Hall and Hogan Farms OCDP Precincts Host Carrboro Mayoral and Alderman Forum - ChrisBrook No Trespassing signs at Bolin Creek - Brooks Rainey Instead of the Southern Part of Heaven how about the Southern Part of Nowhere Special - Ernest Dollar WCHL Chapel Hill Candidate Forum - efriend Future Vision for Chapel Hill - Jeff Danner University Square Public Meetings - Linda Convissor An Opportunity to Advocate for Better Regional Transit - Rickie White Children need to become critical thinkers and life-long learners - MaryAnneGucciardiThe Weaver Street Market Board: The OTHER important election this fall - Rickie White Orange County Parade of Homes for 2009 - davepr NBC17 Manager Taking Over WCHL - Ruby Sinreich Orange Unified Transportation Board survey - brynsmith Candidate Forum: Social Issues Facing Chapel Hill - jlfrye2  Possibly Debatable: 4Complacency - Mark Chilton A response to Matt Czajkowski - Jim WhiteThe election is not about money - Joe Capowski Should the new Council decide the 5th seat or should the current council? - jondehart

In fact, it's crucial.

Terri,I think that any time a candidate, ANY candidate, takes credit for something it is fair to ask whether they really did what they said.  If it seems like this is happening more often lately (and it does seem that way to me) I believe that it is at least partly due to the lack of a strong local news media to question candidates' statements.

George,We should call out any candidate on untruths and/or exaggerations, especially in the absence of a responsive news media. But take a look at Mark's website. It says nothing about what he wants to do or what he believes about the future. Matt puts up specifics and gets hammered. Mark says nothing and his supporters continue to attack Matt. This is the most negative local campaign I remember in Chapel Hill.Just once, I'd like to see one of Mark's supporters stand up and advocate for him instead of attacking Matt. I think Mark deserves positive support.

Matt was the only Council member to vote against lifetime benefits when it was first proposed on the Council's Consent agenda (what was Foy thinking?), but in no way was he alone in speaking out against it, and in fact the Council was unanimous in reversing the policy when it was brought back before them.

IF he had not brought it off the consent agenda it would be our law.When he did bring it off, it passed 8-1.The outrage by many citizens of CH when they learned what happened caused the reversal (Mayoy Foy: "We made a mistake").  It reads like you don't want to give him credit for speaking out.As Council Member Easthom wrote on her blog:

Yet since the meeting, I have certainly thought about this much more (understatement), and have heard from a huge number of citizens about how insensitive the council was in casting this vote for a “life time of health care”. Even though other governments do this for their elected officials, I regret my vote for the ordinance for Chapel Hill Town Council. I think this was bad timing and a mistake.

Council Member Kleinschmidt wrote in his blog:

Sunday, June 15, 2008Thank you Laurin. I agree My Town Council colleague Laurin Easthom published this post earlier today.I was sitting down to write a similar post, but she beat me to it. I will join her in asking the Council to reconsider our vote on Health Care benefits -- hopefully at tomorrow's meeting.

In retrospect, all were against it BECAUSE THEY HEARD THE CITIZENS.

"As mayor, Matt will insist that the interests of the entire community are heard." You could just as easily insert the name Mark in this sentence and there would be elements of the CH community who would say, "but he doesn't really mean everyone." This is not a question of fact checking, this is a question of perceptions. The reason Matt has support is because there are a lot of people who feel that Mark doesn't hear all constituencies either."Matt was the only Council member to vote against lifetime benefits when it was first proposed on the Council's Consent agenda (what was Foy thinking?), but in no way was he alone in speaking out against it, and in fact the Council was unanimous in reversing the policy when it was brought back before them." I would agree with you Ruby IF after the first time that Matt asked that the issue be removed from the consent agenda, the council had engaged in a bona fide debate about the merits of this proposal. Instead, they were pretty much closed mouthed about the whole thing and still voted as a block to support of it. Only after citizens registered outrage did they reconsider. I'd like council members who would have looked at that and said to themselves, "Does this make sense? How much will this cost? Can we afford it? Is it fair to other town employees? Is this an unequal entitlement?" That too is social justice. I don't blame council for Kevin Foy's mistake (and as I said elsewhere Foy has done many, many  fine things for CH), but I do blame them for going blindly off the side of the cliff with him without nary a peep. So I don't think Matt's statement is misleading.As for panhandling, I have heard OP people assert that panhandlers are not the same as those who stay in the shelter, that some of them are on the street by choice. Perhaps I've misunderstood. I'd like to learn more about this. If that is the case (and perhaps it is not), then why have panhandling downtown at all? What's going on here? Both candidates are more or less responsive to different constituencies and both constituencies deserve to be heard. I'm hoping that supporting panhandling downtown is not the ONLY solution for people living on the street. Are you and Mark open to considering other solutions? How can Mark be responsive to business owners and other potential downtown shoppers, workers and neighbors who are uncomfortable with the aggressive nature of some of these requests. Do we agree that everyone should have a right to feel safe? Secondly, can you see that well intentioned people can pose this question AND care about the homeless. And other OP readers, please don't dismiss my comments by saying that I am only using progressive rhetoric to mislead.  As one voter, I don't expect to approve of all council decisions. I can handle council members who think differently, in fact, I appreciate it.  I think debate makes for better informed decisions. That's one of the things I appreciate about OP  and one of the reasons I admire you, Ruby, for the forum you provide.   


I absolutely agree that "... well intentioned people can pose this question AND care about the homeless."

As this campaign has gone on, however, I've become increasingly troubled by Matt's focus - or is it his supporters? - on healthcare and panhandlers, issues that seem to pit the well-to-do against people who can't very well defend themselves and who have no real constituency.

I also wonder about Matt's temperment. When I asked him why he opposed voter-financed elections, he gave me some answers that were reasonable enough, but when I asked him if the idea didn't make sense in principle, he got testy and asked why he should be talking to me since I obviously wasn't going to support him. Indeed I'm not, but I do expect my mayor to at listen to me.

I agree with you that the council could be more open, but I just wonder if electing Matt will make it more contentious and less productive. I also worry about Matt's supporters, many of whom come from moneyed interests. There are plenty of exceptions - e.g., Terri - but the endorsement lists in today's CHN told me which side I should be on.

Thank you for your kind, considered response. I think you make some excellent points. I worry about many of the same things you do with regards to some passionate supporters of both candidates. I, too, will be looking to see how things progress down the road. I think some of the focus on these two issues you mention are due to timing and circumstance. Mark's supporters often ask, "Well show me something Matt did differently," and those recent examples come to mind. You are quite right in pointing out that more than those two examples are at stake, but these two issues exemplify how council debate seems to have been shut down of late, so it is little wonder that some community voices feel disenfranchised. I certainly am not well off financially, but it doesn't bother me that some supporters of both candidates are. As some have pointed out elsewhere, the list of Mark's supporters include (gasp) developers!

Such as yourself, Barbara?http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/agendas/ca050221ph/1-attach9%2010-20-03%20minutes%20item3.htm "Item 3 - Concept Plan Review: Montessori School . . . Montessori Community School Principal Barbara Crockett . . ."


Such as myself. While I held that position (and I haven't for years), that nonprofit school did bring a project before the council. But if by that you mean that I am a developer, there I would disagree. There are many aspects of that experience that inform my current positions and which I have written about elsewhere on OP. I have always used my complete name on OP. Is there a problem?

I am sick of typing but I will say that I admire Mark because is erudite, concerned, compassionate and intelligent. He was integral in hiring and economic development official, a major component of the Rogers Rd. task force, a mainstay on the ongoing Inclusionary zoning task force, he was instrumental in starting a debt management fund that will help us pay for ongoing debt. He stood by his principals casting an unpopular vote for connectivity in the Larkspur neighborhood. He has been a consistent advocate for downtown and the downtown partnership. He stands up for old line progressive values. He was a school teacher and now he is an attorney advocating for people on death row and against the death penalty. All these things really speak to me as a native of Chapel Hill. Cam

Council had been working on fiscal responsibility for years, so he was actually pretty late to that party.
For example, in 2005 the Council created the Citizens Budget Review Committee to recommend cost-saving measures

Yes, they created the committee and then proceeded to IGNORE every single suggestion made.  That is exactly the opposite of fiscal responsibility, and IMHO very telling about how ignorant this council is about the matter.

jcb whoever you are, what do you know about this committee? You are right we chose NOT to sell the old library or any other town owned buildings. We implemented some of the other suggestions.But accusing the town of Chapel Hill of not being fiscally responsible is simplistic and just wrong. Maybe you don't like the way the money is spent, maybe you don't want to pay taxes but our town has a triple A bond rating and its finances are very well handled. Lots of local governments are having fiscal problems, some have handled things poorly-Chapel Hill has acted conservatively in managing its finances.I am out of my mind-refuting comments from people without names.Cam

Click on the red "jcb" and his name will magically appear!

is (in my mind) not about bond ratings.  It is about growth of government spending.  You can't tell me that the last (many) years in CH have been responsible in that regard.  You can say that voters (for the most part) have agreed with what has happened, but that doesn't make it that much more responsible.  Holding off on the library expansion was against the voter intent but clearly was a fiscally responsible move.  Building an expensive operations center with "public" art to boot was not.  Expressing outrage over the suggestion that our employees should have less than platinum-plated health coverage is not responsible.  Suggesting that Matt Cz is campaigning like John McCain because the amount of $ we give to Empowerment is the same as potential $ for VOE is not responsible.  We all bear the burden of these decisions (big and small), and I've just reached the end of what I'm willing to put up with in the lack of fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.-James Barrett (and since Mayor Chilton started it, my cell # is 593-0592 :)

James VOE cost you .94 cents this year. CH town folks do not have  platinum health care coverage. Two very misguided election statements.Cam, you are up early! IT is a teacher work day, go back to sleep :) 

Penny, can you share how you got the .94 cents figure?Can you also tell us what happened at the SBOE with the pre-election reports for candidates?

beyond 100% of premium, no-deductible, low co-pay?  You can make a case that having the town buying it is better overall deal than raising deductible or whatever and giving the savings in wages, but I'm totally baffled how you can think this isn't platinum coverage. 

 From the N&O:

Health-care plans compared*


Employer Chapel Hill N.C. Raleigh Durham (city)
Primary care co-pay $10 $25 $20 $20
Specialist co-pay $20 $60 $40 $40
Annual deductible $0 $600 $250 $1,000
Patient coinsurance 0% 20% 20% 10%
Coinsurance annual maximum $0 $2,750 $1,000 $2,000
Prescription drugs $10-$40 $10-$55 $10-40 $10-$45
Full monthly premium (not including household plans) $479 $385 $398 $403
Monthly employee contribution $0 $0 $0 $33

*Employee's least expensive option


"building an expensive operations center with "public" art to boot was not. "I haven't researched if the new operations center was needed, but I wholeheartedly support the art rules.  The amounts spent are tiny in comparison to how the art enhances the town, and its not about buying large sculptures or paintings that only appeal to a small number of people.  For example, the art portion of the new Southern Community Park is integrated throughout the facility: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=243Don't get me wrong, I am interested in making hard choices about cutting spending-- its just this particular expenditure will pay off in the long run for not only quality of life, but in property values as well.I don't know where you're from, but I'm from a poor industrial city up north that hasn't had money to spend on infrastructure and art since 1900.   The result is horrible, ugly decay everywhere and property you can't give away for $1.  Its a death spiral, as a place becomes more and more unlivable businesses don't want to be there either.  

And art teachers. We fired a lot of teachers who taught the arts and music. Where will the next artists come from?People, not things.

"I haven't researched if the new operations center was needed,"  czeiYes it was.  UNC was leasing the Town space on the Horace Williams tract (Carolina North) at $1/year but they gave notice that they wouldn't renew the lease in order to start the process for the CN campus.  So a new Town Operations Center was not a choice - it was a necessity.

We needed the Town Ops Center but did we really need to put $420,000 in art out there where few citizens can enjoy it?  What is wrong with putting the 1% into a fund to buy art to put all over town?  Other communities follow that model very successfully.

We talk about education, but $420,000 in art would have paid for the Chorus teacher that got fired at my sons school and then some.People, before things.

A $420,000 bench at the Town Operations Center is just the kind of thing that would irritate the big chunk of CH residents that don't pay attention to local politics if they did pay attention to local politics.  If you're going to spend that kind of money on something then make it a big public display somewhere that lots of people will see it.  You know, plenty of regular folk neither know or care about fine art distinctions.  If you want them to have more art in their life then make a space at the TOC where the workers there can put up paintings they did or their kids did or photos they took or something they made, etc, etc, etc.  It's free and plus many folks would rather see the results of a project their co-worker Bob has been working on during weekends for the last couple months than what some officially designated "artist" came up with in exchange for a sum of money that will take them 5-10 years to earn.

Jose -

It's the job of the Council to think about the town holistically. So while it's convenient to call out one thing and make it sound absurd, it's not really fair. It's no coincidence that artists are setting up an arts cooperative downtown, eight years after the Council set up the percent for arts program; and four years after what you call a bench that nobody  sees except for town employees received a national award. The Council had a vision, which is that the arts can both help define a community and can also be an economic driver. That money was well worth the investment. By the way, it was not all paid for with local revenues.

Your other suggestions are certainly worthy, but the Public Arts Commission already does these projects all over town, and has for years - including with the schools.

Kevin Foy

I've had a Chapel Hill address since I was 7, so while not a native, I don't know many other places.The "public" part of the art in question is the fact that few citizens actually go to the Operations Center, thus it is wasted as "public" art.

You need to go learn about the public art program before you decide-- its not what you're thinking. That being said, I would put that program on the block to be scaled back as long as everything else was fair game.  How about 1/2% for art :-)

I could even live with a big sculpture on a lawn if the money goes to one of our brilliant local artists (NC, would have been okay too). Instead, we get all excited and wowed by folks from "out of state" like Mayberry on Andy Griffith. We talk local, but when it comes to our projects: We really like to send our money out of state. It's just annoying.

"We talk local, but when it comes to our projects: We really like to send our money out of state. It's just annoying."Excellent point.

See the town web site on the public art program for lots of helpful info:http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=65You can learn there that of the 8 completed percent for art projects, three were done by local or area artists: Mike Roig of Carrboro for Fire Stateion #5, David Wilson of Durham for the Hargraves murals, and Sally Erikson of Pittsboro for the IFC mosaic. Of the three in progress now, two are by area artists: Al Frega of Durham for the greenways trail prototype project, and David Finn of Winston-Salem for the Community Center retaining wall. These projects attract applications from a national pool, and the benefits go both ways. As only one example, Mike Roig won first place in a national sculpture competition a few years ago:http://www.rosensculpture.org/exhibition.php4?competitionsid=19On the town's web site, you can also learn more about how the percent for art program works (it's money set aside from within construction budgets for selected--not all--town capital projects, and as Kevin mentioned on this thread, it doesn't all come from town budgets). You can also see that there are lots of other opportunities within the town's public arts programming for local artists to participate. Including the exciting new plans for an art collective.And while I'm on the subject, let me mention an event this Friday: "A Creative Conversation on Cultural Arts & Economic Development in Our Community," sponsored by the TOCH, UNC's Office of Local Gov't Relations, the CH Public Arts Commission, and the CH Downtown Partnership. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Seymour Senior Center. If you're interested in joining us, call 968-2750 to rsvp. Come share your views about the role of the arts in promoting economic development and the long-term vitality of our town.    Sally Greene

50% cut and never received their full allotment of startup funds for Band/Orchestra - effectively $43,000 they never got.People, before things.

As a practical matter, building projects take a long time to plan and put into place.  Are you suggesting we go around and rip out the public art and sell it to pay for the band program?  I don't have a list of the ongoing public buildings going up, but the new library has already been postponed. Certainly we need to look at the budget going forward and make some hard decisions about where to cut.

Would $420,000 pay for the Library. As a practical matter, you're being a bit trollish by asking that question. The school took a long time too. People, before things. 

Nope, not trying to be a troll.  I think you're proposing to change the current budget priorities, but budgets are more complicated than that.  Big capital projects are usually funded via borrowing, while salaries are funded out of ongoing revenues.  Certainly its a balancing act to find the right mix, but simply saying "people, before things" grossly oversimplifies the options.

I think I have a little experience in that area. So I stand behind it. I cut spending at the Startup that I was at from that $2 million to about $1.2 million by managing priorities properly My vested interest are schools and kids. I don't benefit from public art directly in the same way an artist or photographer or sculpter would. So I call it the way I see it. You said as a practical matter. Well, if I were starving, I would buy food and pay the light bill before I would buy a picasso.People, before things makes sense. We fired people who had jobs to pay $420,000 for art. Seriously, wouldn't that have been better spent on Health Benefits for town employees?

"People, before things makes sense. We fired people who had jobs to pay $420,000 for art. Seriously, wouldn't that have been better spent on Health Benefits for town employees?"Funding for municipal buildings comes from borrowing and can't be used for general expenditures.  To use an analogy from personal finances you can't take out a mortgage and then use the money to buy groceries, for example.  Reducing the cost of a building would reduce the payments on the loan, but you're figuring in the whole cost of the art, right? So there's no way the town could have fired people to pay the art program.The other problem with this assertion is timing.  At the time the 1% for art program was enacted and the contracts signed there was no way to predict the economy would tank and revenues would drop drastically.  

We have a library unfunded, but $420,000 worth of art. Both are buildings. Which serves more people?By the way, the Town acknowledges problems with the Art program in its notes from its annual retreat. I will see if I can find the link.

I'm a fiscal conservative, and would like to see cuts made to the budget that would result in no teacher's being fired, or cause more delays building the sorely needed library expansion.  We're still in the worse recession since the great depression, and I don't envy the tough budget decisions that had to be made by the town council. I respect that you don't believe the percent for arts program is money well spent.That being said, its important to approach the budget issues with a realistic understanding of how municipal finance and budgets work.  The town's budget is a complex issue that has to balance short term fiscal requirements with long-term goals. The arts program is no more to blame for school cutbacks than spending on buses or any other individual budget item. Using that methodology you could cherry pick any budget item you didn't like and claim that caused the school district to lose headcount, or caused the library delay. 

the efforts that we can on town development efforts, etc.  Why do we have consultants from all over when we have great skills here?

about the TOC but that was a done deal before I got to the council. I don't see any evidence that Matt Cz. is any more capable of fiscal responsibility than anyone he is campaigning against. His campaign seems amazingly wasteful. I admit I am not his target (except that I vote) and I have received one mailer, I've gotten, like 3 from, Gene and Mark.In two years, what spending has he blocked or even talked about? other than the health insurance? BTW, why doesn't some of your outrage go up to H'boro where the benefit has existed for sometime... Cam

Fred, we understand that you support Matt and I support Mark for mayor.  That's OK by me.  What I have trouble with however, is your giving complete credit to Matt for being the only one against health care for council members.You wrote above  "IF he [Matt] had not brought it off the consent agenda it would be our law."No it wouldn't.  Not even close.First, it being on the consent agenda does not bury it.  The items on the consent agenda are fully published on page 1 of the council agenda for all to see and to see easily.  Any member can pull at item off the consent agenda for individual discussion and action.  And Matt did; good for him.Second, the town reaction to the council vote was loud, clear, and negative.  As a very small part of that reaction, here's the salient portion of my OP post of June 12, 2009:"I usually agree with the actions of the current council, but this is a mistake and I would support any resolution to rescind it.  Council service is just that, service.   It is not and should not be a full-time job with long-term professional perks.  The argument that council service is time-consuming and therefore councilmembers are limited to part-time jobs that don't provide health insurance is ridiculous, almost insulting to those of us who served while maintaining full-time careers.   Any councilmember can, of course, allow the task to fill long hours by accepting every invitation, participating in every controvery, and studying every issue at a detailed level, but this doesn't help her or him better provide the philosophical guidance that town citizens and town employees need and expect."After that post, I received emails and phone calls from three current council members who had voted for the resolution and after hearing the reaction from townspeople, including, BUT HARDLY ONLY me, they changed their minds.It is ridiculous to give credit to Matt as the unique person who stopped this improper council perk.  Many people reacted negatively, and the council listened and understood. 

Items of a routine nature will be placed on the Consent Agenda to be voted on in a block. Any item may be removed from the Consent Agenda by request of the Mayor or any Council Member.

Routine?  Why was it there? What do you believe would have happened if it remained there, given the 8-1 vote when it came up for discussion? Would there have been a citizen reactionlike there was?Ruby's point was that other Council members spoke out about it AFTERWARDS.  My point is Matt was responsible for us being in a position to have the conversation.  You disagree.

Fred, you wrote that if Matt had not pulled it from consent, it would now be law. I disagree; had Matt done nothing, it would not be law.  Had Matt done nothing, there would have been a slightly different path to the same result.My reaction, as expressed in my June 12th OP post, had nothing to do with Matt.  My reaction had nothing to do with the consent agenda.  My reaction was simply that health care for councilmembers was wrong.  Though I'm not taking credit for their actions, the council agreed.  


But we will never know for sure, will we?

JoeNot to nit pick but many folks don't seem to know that the Council was considering life time health benefits for council members.  They already have health benefits.  Some council members are supported by town health insurance now, including Matt Cz.    To me that seems reasonable but life time seems excessive.  Although the Council voted for the new benifits they rescinded them due to a huge public reaction which included me.  Democracy at work!  --Julie

That is the mark of a true leader. When you do the right thing, even if you stand alone.

"That is the mark of a true leader. When you do the right thing, even if you stand alone."I think that's written on the inspirational poster on the ceiling at my gynecologist.    

I threw up when I got the mailer. By the way, I saw that movie.I don't feed trolls.



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