A Race to the Bottom
The City of Wallace through its council has determined that it is in the public’s best “interest to abandon any interest” in Wilson St. This is the second time this ordinance has been before council, the original having passed last time with one absent and one in opposition. I predicted this would happen as they tried to correct the sloppy mess of the first ordinance but this attempt is equally troubling if not more so. In the public hearing councilman Dean Cooper asked that his name be taken off as a beneficiary of this public land give-away. It seems, the request was for public show as his name still remains as an office holder to financially benefit from his position. The major difference between the old and new version is that we are now giving land to a person who has been dead some 4 or five years back. Strangely, this woman was also Mr. Cooper’s mother-in-law. The proper way to put this transfer from a dead person would have read “and heirs” but then that would have then pointed to Dean’s wife.
Not to be out done by all this trickery to push this thing through they intend on ignoring the last ordinance which passed and would have required under the rule, a rescission of that vote ( which in layman’s terms saying “we want a do over”) then followed by public input on the new ordinance crafted as the process begun again. However, as an attempt to slide this new ordinance in they are voting to “suspend the rules”. This is yet another slimy way of dealing with the public’s business. Apparently, this must be what the mayor says on her campaign signs too, “Keep Wallace, Wallace.
Now just to make matters worse and equally important, even while Dean will excuse himself from voting the Council is supposed to be impartial in their vote but the problem is, Mr. Cooper’s campaign signs are placed in all but two of their homes. Only Councilwomen Bisconer and Branstetter do not have such signs. Obviously, the mayor has one in her yard because they have been business partners. Clearly, this vote has lost any pretext of being impartial because you cannot be both an obvious supporter and in opposition at the same time. This means that if they vote to give one of their council members public land they will be targets in Ryder’s lawsuit as he could sue not only the board for land locking his property but each of them individually for this fragrant display of reckless cronyism.
As most people know I have written and spoken out against Ryder’s development which I consider a very bad idea. Moreover, he and I are at opposite ends of the poles politically but I am not willing to give up on the concept of “equal under the law” to win at any time. My integrity requires the higher road. Because in this mess of a nation we seem to have forgotten that democracy requires fair and open government free from reckless behavior and cronyism. Sadly, this is not what is happening now. This council needs to revisit this action and due it right taking its time and bring experts in to make the case or conversely, this city could lose revenue in a lawsuit and our civic face.
James Jonathan Ruggles,