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Measure for measure
You could say Baker City officials learned their lesson when voters rejected revisions to the City Charter in 2000.
You could, but then youd be wrong.
Why didnt voters approve the changes?
Uh, well, hmm. Maybe they didnt like the idea of allowing the city to dispose of publically owned real estate valued at less than $5,000 without a vote of the people, as the charter now allows.
Maybe they didnt want to discontinue the modest $150 annual stipend afforded councilors.
Or maybe they just couldnt stomach the idea of calling members of the city council councilor instead of councilman.
City officials dont know and neither do we because they lumped all three issues together in one thumbs up or thumbs down question.
Voters gave the thumbs down.
Now, almost two years later, the council plans to again ask voters to revise the charter. This time, however, theyve broken off the property sale portion of the measure from the rest of the housekeeping, providing voters the opportunity to approve that measure independent of other revisions.
Thats a wise move. Voters have approved every recent property sale proffered by the city, and should trust the council with sales of $5,000 or less without holding a vote of the electorate. Public comment is preserved through the normal council process, and city operations are slightly streamlined.
Voters can now approve or disapprove that measure regardless of how they feel about council pay or the relative appropriateness of councilor or councilman.
It may be worth further splintering the measure, provided it doesnt create greater printing costs for the County Clerk.
Everyone seems to agree that paying city councilors $150 a year is foolish. Its the remedy that we seem to disagree on.
It would be a shame not to pass timely updates to the charter like councilor because the electorate likes the idea of a paid city council.