Hope amid despair
Like last week’s delicate jonquils, providing brilliant relief after months of dreariness, Marion City Council showed welcome signs of life Monday.
We can only hope that the sweet smell doesn’t wither and die as quickly as the jonquils did and that the city’s political forecast is for continued moderate weather rather than a cold snap.
Instead of simply accepting everything as presented Monday night, council members actually questioned documents — and, in most cases, even got answers.
Although the fix seemed to be in for container homes to start dotting every neighborhood in town, council member Zach Collett in particular questioned their aesthetic and structural appropriateness in traditional neighborhoods.
Joined by vice mayor Ruth Herbel, they kept shipping containers from being hoisted without debate into scattered locations throughout the city.
They also questioned multiple purchases, meeting minutes, and other items that had been loaded up like so much cargo to be dispatched in a typical 15-minute meeting.
They may not have done enough to examine a far-reaching set of rules relating to connecting alternative energy sources to homes. They merely nodded their heads in agreement and signed off on seemingly a ream of paperwork presented by outsiders — paperwork that most of them probably hadn’t read.
But it was a good first step, nonetheless, toward returning debate and discussion to what’s supposed to be a deliberative body but had instead become a rubber stamp for what the city’s Alpha Dog leaders might want.
Incoming city administrator Brogan Jones also was there, showing in discussions outside the meeting room not just that he has a cool first name but that he also has a deep knowledge, belying his youth, of highly technical aspects of city operations.
All in all, like the first flowers of spring, it was an encouraging development that, with a bit of nurturing, could mark the beginning of the end of the darkness that has hovered over Marion like so many turkey vultures flitting about its old water tower.
— ERIC MEYER