Thursday, October 23, 2014 • 09:40
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A well-run parade


June 12, 2013
I don't want to get any farther past Western Days before giving this year's director of the parade, Mary Gordon, and her crew some well-deserved praise for the efficient manner in which they put on the event on Saturday, May 27.

Each year I'm a parade announcer and so get a bird's eye, or maybe a worm's eye view of the proceedings. Sometimes things happen in a well-organized manner, and other times they just manage to happen despite everything working against success.

This year Gordon, who is also the chamber's executive director, seems to have assembled a fine-honed group that worked like a finely oiled machine. I was amazed and a little stunned when I showed up on Saturday morning and was treated to watching my table, chair and umbrella moved to the center median of VC Road and my sound system set up and made to work in record time.

I was impressed. The rest of the parade impressed me too. Very often those who do the thankless jobs, surprise! never get properly thanked for what they do. This time I wanted to make an exception in the case of the parade committee. Good job, folks!

Voting Present

Oliver Smith, the chairman of the Valley Center Planning Group, takes a dim view of members of the group abstaining, rather than voting aye or no on a motion. In Smith's view, the job of elected officials is to make the tough decisions. Sometimes it's tough to decide whether to support or oppose a motion, but in Smith's view, elected officials should bite the bullet and make such a choice, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, unless, of course, the official has a material interest in the outcome of the vote, in which case abstaining is the proper course.

I wonder how Smith would have reacted if President Obama had served with him? The president, when he was in the Illinois Legislature, was notorious for wracking up a record of "present" votes on dozens of controversial bills. Anyway, it's an interesting position to take and Smith has shown that he walks the walk when it comes to taking stands. He is not afraid to do so.

Embarrassing Sniping

Speaking of the planning group, I would like to shine the spotlight on two members of the group, who shall remain nameless, but who anyone who attends planning group meetings will instantly recognize. These two members are constantly sniping at each other. If one says the night is dark, the other one will immediately leap to his feet (figuratively speaking) to denounce this pernicious dark night misinformation! Whenever the one opens his mouth, the other won't even let him get through half a sentence before attacking whatever his statement is. It is getting ridiculous!

I would estimate that about a third of every planning group meeting is taken up with this childish verbal rough housing which does little to shine light on public discourse, but I suspect, does tend to discourage residents who might attend these meetings from coming back.

Come on, guys! Act your age! Let's hear a little more civil speaking from our elected members.

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