Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday 9-25

Who represents you on the Oshkosh Common Council? The council will discuss options for a potential advisory referendum on the form of government next spring--and one of the options is going to aldermanic districts with a full time Mayor.

One of my beefs with the current "at large" election of all the Councillors is that not every part of town is equally represented. Who on the council experiences what I put up with in my neighborhood. Which one drives the streets in my neighborhood everyday? Who deals with the same nuisances? If I had an issue with the city I would have no idea which Councillor would be most familiar with the situation.

While opponents of aldermanic government claim it would lead to "turf wars" it would also ensure balance among all parts of the city. Would the representative of the southside neighborhood with the terrible streets be so gung ho about spending city money on cobblestone crosswalks and concrete planters downtown when the people living his his district have to replace their tires and shocks every other year due to the condition of their streets? And Appleton, Neenah and Menasha seem to be able to function quite well with aldermen.

What we currently have is representation by ideology. People take their concerns to the councillor who most closely matches their view of the city. Meaning there is the "cobblestoner" councillor, the "green" councillor and the "chamber" councillor.

I wish the Oshkosh School District had to represent specific districts as well. I'm guessing the persons representing the attendance shift areas would be raising holy hell and making sure everyone in the district shared the burden of balancing enrollment across the city. And the township portions of the district would probably get better representation as well.

So c'mon City Council, don't fear change and give us a chance to decide our own form of government next spring.

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