by Mike Meldon Jr.
I’d like to start out by saying congratulations to the Mayor, Vice Mayor and all of the council. Election season and all the drama that comes with it is now over and it should be time to move forward. My fear though is that some people are not content getting on with business, but instead want to sow drama, division and anger- a polarization that is most likely fueled by the national political climate or brought on by ‘rage addiction’ from social media . Hyperbole and gaslighting are being used to sway the public against this council and its mayor in particular.
I have just 4 points I’d like to make:
1- All good conspiracies begin with a seed of truth- as does this one. That one thing that people can look at- see as true- and then move forward believing the lies thrown there upon. They used this truth to build a story of a mayor and council that does not listen to the people and that stifles speech. This is a straw man argument. Anyone that watches council regularly can see the true nature of its members and its mayor.
Yet- the exaggeration and feigned disgust is spread in newspaper headlines, podcasts, and in private conversation. Ugly and childish names are thrown about describing council members in order to sway the public into looking at particular members as ‘good’ and the others as ‘bad. The only true remedy here is for people to tune in and pay attention- close attention- to council meetings and to lean towards the positive, knowing that this council is looking out for our best interests overall. I believe that given the attention it deserves, the facts and the integrity of this council will shine through.
2- ‘The people are at the top’- we have been hearing that a lot lately. It is a great reminder of the setup of Loveland’s governance and the respect that it has for its citizens- the group it needs to listen to most.. I don’t think anyone on council or in the community would want it any other way. But please don’t confuse this with council rules, procedure, or the representative democracy that makes up our city government. While the people are supposed to be thought of primarily in decision making- it does not mean that the people make the decisions. We elected this council to do a job- that job is to become well informed on an issue and then vote in a manner that they believe is best for Loveland.
3- The council was said to have not ‘followed the will of the people’ by not voting for the highest vote-getter in the last election for mayor. This again, is being used to fuel frustration in the public forum, yet Loveland has never voted for a mayor in this fashion. Loveland, like most cities our size, has it’s council members vote on one of their fellow members, the one that they believe best fills the role. This council did as all councils have done in the past, they followed the rules as they were supposed to- responsibly and with the city’s best interest in mind.
Those that are saying that this council is already ignoring “the will of the voters” are trying to spin and define ‘that will’ on their own and for their own agenda. We all know the many reasons why election numbers differ- especially when not all members are up for re-election at the same time. To try to define the ‘people’s mandate’ from the last election is presumptuous at best and manipulative at worst.
Finally- dissent. I believe dissent is necessary and needed in this complicated and groupthink world. But, behind that dissent needs to be honesty, integrity, and work. Dissent used for grandstanding or to merely separate yourself from the pack may make for good political posturing for those not paying attention, but it does the city no good at all- it only hurts it.
True and honest dissent can lead to compromise. And compromise- it could be argued- is the best outcome in a democracy such as ours. Our nation was built on compromises and those of us in relationships know that compromise is a key to success.
I wish this council many successes and it is my hope that the community follows along and sees how lucky we are to have this council working for us.
Mike Meldon Jr
Loveland Tree and Environment Committee Chairman
Loveland Recreation Board Clerk