Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Motznik Tries to Scramble Back Off Ledge, Council Blocks His Way
There was a quiet end to one of the latest skirmishes within city council today. Last week Councilman Jim Motznik proposed silly legislation clearly intended as payback to council for their passage of separate legislation which pissed off our Boy Mayor. Motznik, a staunch mayoral ally, introduced two punitive bills: One would gut council’s own administrative budgets, seriously jeopardizing their ability to operate. The other sought to confiscate a purported “slush fund” council maintains, redirecting that money to public safety. Both of these bills were specious at best.
Stunts like this one are commonplace in Jim Motznik’s world. He lives, he breathes, he alternates between stupid, loud, embarrassing outbursts and apologizing for the same. Mr. Hyde-Motznik launches rabid attacks against his political foes, clomps about in sewer boots, and lobbies for a dying man’s job even while the man lies dying. Dr. Jekyll-Motznik comes around afterward, making apologies, trying to mop up the mess so that there’s a nice clean slate for Hyde-Motznik’s next interlude. Unchanging, however, are both Motzniks' support of the Party Machine and its current Cog-in-Chief, Mayor Ravenstahl.
So it was no surprise to anyone when Dr. Jekyll-Motznik approached council today with a measured tone and a calm demeanor requesting that his own silly, payback legislation be tabled. Stunning, however, was that a council majority refused him his retreat. They voted 6-2 to force him to stand out on the ledge of his own making. When his stupid bill to gut council’s own budget came up for an official vote (he being the official sponsor), he was publically reprimanded by his peers, 6-2, as they voted it down.
Biggest shock of the day? Councilwoman Darlene Harris was one of the six majority ‘no’ votes. ( Burgess, Dowd, Harris, Kraus, Peduto, Shields voted ‘no.’ Deasy and Motznik voted ‘yes.’ Payne was MIA)
Harris has previously stood firm with Motznik and the mayor on most every occasion that the Pist-Gazette can recall. So her “defection” today to the “other” side, however temporary or issue-specific, could signal a political power shift of titanic proportions. True, the existing five-vote majority block is already a concern to the mayor. But adding another vote, for a total of six, is the Ravenstahl nightmare scenario as it takes six votes to override his veto.
(Wonder if Ravenstahl now plans to veto council's take-home car reduction legislation..... ??)
If the Pist-Gazette were forced to guess, we’d say Harris has not switched teams though we do believe she has cancelled her membership with Team Ravenstahl. Hopefully Harris has come to value the wisdom of standing by one’s own opinions, making one's own decisions formed by adherence to one’s own values and beliefs. Going out on our own ledge here and because Harris appears to be sane and honorable, we think this is exactly what she has decided to do.
And what of the vote on the second silly Motznik bill? The bill which would redirect a purported council slush fund? It came down exactly the same way with Harris being the sixth vote.
Tictoc, tictoc, tictoc. That's the sound of Ravenstahl's clock running out.