Told you so

A few months back I suggested the "super committee" set up by Congress to shave trillions to put the country on a better financial footing would be a failure and guess what -- it was!

Anyone who thought the gathering of six Republicans and six Democrats could come to an agreement must have been living on another planet. Probably another universe.

The obligatory round of finger pointing and recrimination soon followed the announcement that there would be no agreement and automatic cuts would kick in.

The problem there is the cuts wouldn't start until 2013 and already there are those on the Republican side who want to override the cuts to make sure the military continues to get its share of the pie, however bloated that may be. President Obama says no way, try to save them and I'll veto the bill, you made the deal to form the committee and there are no off ramps that now give you a pass.

It makes you wonder if there are any two members of the opposing parties in Washington who could sit down and hash out a way to at least start on the process for rolling back our debt, cutting our deficits and righting the economic ship of state. One seriously doubts it.

When I last wrote of the committee, I suggested the membership should be picked by lot so that the makeup would be mixed rather than loaded. Alas, no one took me up on that so you had plenty of naysayers on both sides, the Republicans all of the no tax increase ilk, the Dems of the maintain programs ilk.

Makes me ill-k.

Congress has an abysmal approval rating and is it any wonder? Totally incapable of doing what's right for the country or even attempting to do what's right for the country.

Given the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation periods that Congress will take, don't expect anything to come of the financial crisis at least until the first of the year -- if then.

Because as we all know, the GOP primaries and caucuses start in January and that means everyone will be in full election mode come the start of the new year. And that means the issue will be a campaign issue.

The phrase "kicking the can down the road" has been perhaps overused in this context but it is apt as, once again, those whose job it was to come up with a solution to our problem failed in their duty.

Shame on them!

 

A sound idea

Outgoing Petoskey mayor Ted Pall is trying to move the city to an expanded term length for mayor and council members and it seems to be a reasonable idea, especially for extending the mayoral term.

While council members get a two-year term, the mayor gets only one year in office which seems too short a time period especially if the winner is a newbie.

Incoming mayor Bill Fraser has a step up, for example, because he served on the council and has a working knowledge of the city, the issues and how things work.

But Pall and Dale Meyer who followed him in recent years entered the mayor's office as green as spring grass and the next thing they knew -- Bam! the year was up.

The city charter limits the mayoral term to one year so a charter amendment facing a vote of the electorate would be needed to make the change.

I'm not sure going to a three-year term for council members is needed, two seems about right, but I agree with the mayor that a one-year term is just too short to be effective in office.

In changing the charter there is one thing I wouldn't change and that's the ward system and the ward and city conventions which make Petoskey unique and has allowed for council members to serve their smaller parts of the city well and thoroughly.

When the charter was revised oh so many years ago, the charter commission made it a point to keep Petoskey alone among state municipalities by retaining the ward system -- and their faith in the process has served the city well for going on 30 years.

Keep that, but give the mayor a little more time in office before having to face the voters again.



Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at kendallstanley@charter.net.
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