If you erase checks and balances among the media, the people, the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch then you arrive at what T or C has, a good ole boy government, not a democracy.
Gordon Edelheit, who is running for Truth or Consequences city commissioner, went to the mic during the Oct. 11 city commission meeting and was allowed to campaign without interruption or correction, City Attorney Jay Rubin and city commissioners sitting idly by.
Election law disallows campaigning in or around government buildings and the use of government property or equipment or resources to be used to campaign. Government officials are supposed to be neutral and not dictatorial. Government endorsement of a candidate or religion or telling constituents how to vote is dictatorial. The people are at the top of a democratic government’s organizational chart and are supposed to be informed, not dictated to, by their elected representatives.
At the mic Edelheit bragged about the chamber of commerce successfully campaigning to have two general-obligation bonds approved by the people.
Edelheit was or is the head of the Chamber of Commerce. His bragging shows he doesn’t realize he has a conflict of interest in being head of the chamber and running for office. Business interests are special interests. Government officials are supposed to represent all of the people.
The chamber’s campaign did not look out for the people’s interests. It was a very low-information campaign that failed to even mention that the G.O. bond debt would more than double property taxes.
At the mic Edelheit also said he’s been successful in increasing support for Angela Gonzales, who became city manager about five months ago. This is another erasure of the check and balance that is supposed to exist between the city commission/legislative branch and the city manager/city staff/executive branch.
A city commissioner is supposed to represent the people, which means not having any ex parte communication with fellow commissioners let alone working as a team. It also means the city commission is supposed to monitor and oversee and check on the city manager, not become her P.R. person or supporter.
At the mic Edelheit said he has been holding get-to-know-the-candidates sessions at his restaurant, getting a plug in for his business as well as misusing government resources to campaign. He said one non-incumbent candidate and one incumbent candidate had shown up at the sessions and that he hoped the other candidates would attend. Mayor Amanda Forrister, Mayor Pro Tem Rolf Hechler and City Commissioner Shelly Harrelson are the incumbents who are running and they listened impassively, thus endorsing Edelheit’s implied notion that city commissioners should work together as a team.
One big good-ole-boy family. Just what we need more of.