David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Tom Hunter Goes, Jimmie Cates Comes

Here are my thoughts on the latest shuffling of the American Fork City Council, the retirement of Councilman Tom Hunter and the mayor's appointment of Jimmie Cates to fill the vacated seat until this November's election.

First, I've been close enough to the processes of City government to know that being a conscientious Council member is not a lot of fun. It takes time and effort one might prefer to spend on other things. Everyone seems to want something from you. You will never make everyone happy (not me, often enough), and some of the unhappy people will find unpleasant, ill-mannered, or even uncivilized ways of expressing their sentiments. For that matter, campaigning itself is real work and costs real money, even at the local level, and (to put it gently) is less than uniformly enjoyable. As often as I disagree with them, I am inclined to believe that our city councilors generally do the best they can, and if they knew how to do better they would. So I say, Thank you, Councilman Hunter, for five years of almost thankless service.

Second, I worked with Jimmie Cates on some things during his previous (also appointed) stint on the Council. I found him willing to talk and to listen, and eager to be helpful. I was pleased enough with him that I voted for him when he subsequently ran for election in 2003. With one exception, I don't know who the others were who applied for the open position; it's possible that the Mayor simply made the safe choice, choosing Mr. Cates because he's a known quantity. I am not in a position to judge that. But I do believe Councilman Cates is a good choice, and all that stuff I said with reference to Councilman Hunter applies to him, too. Thank you, Councilman Cates, for seeking and accepting a nearly thankless job, especially when you already knew what you were getting into.

I don't think these gentlemen are in it for the power trip. They both surely learned long ago that it's a very short trip. It comes to an abrupt end in roughly one's second week of service - or is that the second hour? I'm not sure anyone's motives are ever completely pure in politics, but, whatever else may be going on, these two seem to want to serve. (The truly power-hungry tend to run for higher offices than city council, in my experience.) And they are both mature enough to understand the necessity of disagreeing without being disagreeable - a political art which seems to be in decline.

Forgive me for belaboring the obvious, but the better and the more are the people who present themselves for public service, the better local government will be.


Briefly, on another subject: I thought I was somewhat in touch with the political debate during the election year just ended, including its increasing use of and dependence on the World Wide Web. I'm not sure how to reconcile that self-image with the fact that, until this week, I had never heard of or seen the JibJab movies. In any case, if you haven't already, give these short, satirical, animated video creations a try. I particularly like "This Land." Note: Some of them are rated PG (or would be if the MPAA got their hands on them).

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