EDITORíS DESK: Strange doings in government-ville
The Range Riders sauntered through the Westside for the first time. Scores of Austin-Healeys are cruising to Bancroft Park. And the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site has found itself a new Abraham Lincoln.
But in contemplating the week's events from the quivering news epicenter of the Westside Pioneer, I could not help a sense of befuddlement about the strange doings in our local government offices.
One of them, of course, regards our old friend, the sharrows. Well, I say "old," but they've really only been in the local public consciousness for two and a half months, and their double-arrow/bicycle symbol has yet to be imprinted on any streets that matter. However, it will be interesting to see what comes of Chief of Staff Steve Cox's order that keeps Traffic Engineering from putting sharrows on West Colorado Avenue for now... when City Council had authorized staff May 10 to put them wherever they felt necessary. Whether you're a fan or a foe of the markings, you can't deny the potential intrigue. Who's really in charge here? I applaud Steve Cox's call for further discussion. But councilmembers' comments leading up to the May 10 vote gave no indication that they wanted any part of that. Merv Bennett's message, for example, seemed to be that council's job is to make important decisions and not to get sidetracked by neighborhood types with the odd notion that "process" ought to work in their favor.
The other recent government oddity was the set of events ending with the Trails and Open Space Coalition withdrawing its parks maintenance sales tax proposal. TOSC had taken time to draw it up after seeing governments slash parks funding - even threaten to sell parks - to balance weak budgets in recent years. Let me see if I have this right. Key city and county officials oppose new taxes, so they quash the idea of putting a proposal for one on the ballot? Isn't the point that we ought to let voters decide? At least that's how things worked in times less strange.