Watching and attending county legislature meetings, I have noticed something very interesting. In the gallery sit a variety of people. Some are there to be honored by the legislature, some are there because they believe in viewing government in action, some are there because an issue of interest may be on the agenda, and some are there simply based upon their hatred for the legislature.
This is not an issue of concern for me. What I do find fascinating is that many of these people contradict their "friends", and in some cases, themselves, at every single meeting, and these people continue to sit together, cheer together and interact with each other.
I watched a meeting where Margie Swan stood at the podium talking about saving Mount View and saving county jobs. Everyone cheered. Then, Edwina Lucsks stands up and talks about how Niagara County has the highest taxes in the country, that the county has too many employees, and that the county needs to cut back, reduce spending, eliminate waste, etc. Everyone cheered.
You cannot be further apart on an issue. I have heard legislators and the county manager say they only control approximately 21% of their budget, the other 79% is mandates. I've never heard anyone dispute that, so assuming it's true, the most significant aspect of the budget that the county can control is personnel.
Edwina stands up at every meeting and says there are too many public sector employees in Niagara County. The crowd cheers. Closing or selling Mount View will reduce the county work force by 200 employees. So closing Mount View will accomplish exactly what Edwina and the others seek. And the crowd cheers.
So, at this meeting, why did the crowd, the same people, cheer for both speakers? It's unfortunately very clear. They cheer two individuals on completely different sides of an issue because they despise the legislature, and that is the tie that binds them together.
Public speakers stand at that podium and hammer the legislature every meeting, talk about getting new people elected. But who the hell wants to subject themselves to the likes of you? I certainly wouldn't. In the City of Lockport, 5 out of the 6 Aldermen are unopposed. Is it a surprise to anyone that people don't want to run for office? If they turn on LCTV and see the public speakers, anyone in his right mind wouldn't subject themself to the garbage spewed at those meetings.
In the end, nobody wins. But, at least you get to go home and watch yourself on TV. You must be oh so very proud.