Merced County Times Newspaper
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What happens when City Council chambers become a zoo?

COMMENTARY

At times like this, the actions of some members of the City Council bring shame to our city. They have turned the City Council chambers into a zoo.

To use the Uvalde, Texas school shooting as a comparison of what our police officers would or might do in a similar situation was totally out of line during a discussion about extending a contract for school resource officers.

Never in our history of covering news in Merced has there ever been such a case involving lack of courage on the part of the Merced Police Department. Quite the opposite. We have had officers die in the line of duty when they should have been out of the line of fire.

To allow profane language on the floor of the Council is against all rules of order and our Mayor should have used a heavier gavel to stop such use.

We can’t allow the meetings to become a political stage where members on the Council use it for their own political benefit.

Do certain members of the Council have valid complaints? Yes! The south side of Merced has been underserved in the past. Is the present Council responsible for what has happened in the past?  No.

Is the present Council responsible for what happens in the future? Absolutely!

Measure C is a measure which affects all residents of the city and needs to be voted on by the entire voting population. Due to the current divided Council, we will not have that chance in November election.

Perhaps, city leaders will decide to place Measure C on a future ballot, maybe the 2024 Presidential Election. Maybe community members will rise up and start a signature campaign on their own, and do it that way.

The City Council is not there to decide whether to allow local citizens to vote or not to vote.

Speaking out, as a voice in the community, we feel Measure C needs to be reapproved because it has been used to finance both the Police Department and the Fire Department.

We can’t afford to underfund these two departments. The price would be too great. Without our police department there would be anarchy. Fires in our community still happen. We can’t go back to the bucket brigade.

What is needed on the City Council level, is a Cooling Off period, in which the rhetoric needs to be toned down. Keep your Battle Cry at home.

More can be achieved with good manners than shouting. Hostility has no place at the podium.

More low cost housing is a National issue. There are many people in this town who are working on providing exactly that, but it too will come at a price. Nothing is free.

Is it fair to bring pressure on the city to fight the high costs of building? We feel permit fees are too high. Special rates should be given to builders who build low cost housing.

Rental housing in our city is non existent, but when the state tells potential landlords they can not evict a tenant who does not pay their rent, it limits the number of people who want to invest in rental housing.

The very people on the Council who are demanding low-cost housing, have turned down projects which could provide such housing if approved.

Finally, there must be a return to law and order in our Council Chambers. If you want to fight then do it outside the Council Chambers. Every Council member was voted into office to do his or her best for the whole city — not just their district.

There needs to be a sense of negotiation because no two people think alike. Voting on issues consistently with a 4 to 3 vote sends a message that this city’s leadership is divided and locked in concrete.

It is happening in our City Council Chambers and it is happening on the National Political Stage.

It needs to stop, here and now.

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