By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Buzz could use some extra holiday cash, so we thought we'd try our hand at a little political consulting and share this brilliant idea we had for Mayor Laura Miller. (She pays a political consultant for his help. We figure she could slip a few bucks, a fruitcake or something to Buzz.)
Miller says she wants voters to approve a charter amendment, likely to be on the ballot in May, that would vastly expand the mayor's powers and eliminate the city manager's position (see Jim Schutze's column in this issue). It's a more sweeping change than Miller wanted, but, she says, it's better than no change at all. Her own proposal for strengthening the mayor's role, which she wanted to take effect after she leaves office, was shot down by the city council.
OK then, Mrs. Mayor, let's show them council wusses you mean business. At this week's council meeting, and at every future debate you have on the charter change, you should stand up, raise your right hand and say this: "I, Laura Miller, do solemnly swear that if voters approve the strong-mayor proposal in May, I will resign the day afterward." She could then run in the special election to fill the vacancy her resignation would create.
So maybe that's not brilliant. But it would give all those people who dislike Miller reason to vote for the charter change; it would remove suspicions that the strong-mayor proposal is a power grab by Miller; and it would allow voters to consider the change solely on its merits. Plus--and this is the best part--it would be an absolute hoot. Imagine the confused looks and furrowed brows on the faces of Miller's council opponents if they were given the chance of bagging her in trade for the charter change.
There's only one hitch, though. Miller won't go for it.
"Isn't five elections in five years enough?" she cheerfully asked Buzz when we floated the idea past her.
Miller points out that she would have only two years left on her term after May--time enough to try to implement the change and allow voters to decide whether city government was functioning any better with her in the driver's seat. "But it's really clever," she says of our suggestion.
Well, thanks. If you're going to be all grown-up about it, Mayor, then fine. Just fine. Sniff.
We don't even like fruitcake.