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Lucas wrote:

The City Council and the Mayor have been wrangling over the past months over what role the city council should play in a “strong mayor” government. Do you believe that there’s a mandate to give the mayor’s office wider control of city business, do you think the city council should be working to reassert itself, or are you relatively satisfied with the current power-sharing arrangement?

Thanks, Lucas. I think the City Council should be working to reassert itself. Proposition F was sold as a transition from a City Manager style of government to a Strong Mayor/Strong Council form of government. 

The Mayor’s Office clearly prefers to focus on the Strong Mayor part, but I think most people in this city also want a Strong Councilmember representing their district. There is plenty of room for both. 

Much of the wrangling this spring concerned budget authority. I think it is perfectly appropriate for the mayor to propose the budget and to propose mid-year cuts if he deems them necessary. However, I think it is important for any proposed mid-year cuts to be considered by the City Council and to receive a public hearing. The people most affected by the proposed cuts should have the opportunity to weigh in on them. Proposed cuts are typically not so urgent as to warrant cutting the people out of the process. Let everyone weigh in, and if it still looks like the most reasonable approach, then make the cuts.

The power-sharing arrangement is still unsettled, and I’m concerned about the direction it is headed. The mayor has been rather heavy-handed in his approach to this issue, and I worry that his appointed Charter Review Committee is largely a mechanism for the mayor to consolidate more power.

STEPHEN WHITBURN

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