Wow. Some of these numbers are a little disturbing. And find out what alders would rather be doing.
According to a recent Common Council survey (see page 13) 2 council members people spend 5 – 10 hours a week being lobbied by developers and other special interest groups in private. Only one spends that same amount of time in private meetings with constituents. 6 more spend 1 – 5 hours a week in private meetings with developers and other special interests.
The first question I have is who. The second question I have is which special interests. The third question I have is who spends more time with lobbyists and special interests than their constituents. I have a few guesses . . . but I’m not sure.
Finally, do you think all that time ends up in the lobbyists reports? Hard to know, I can’t really find the expense reports that were due in July. Based on past lobbyists reports, I don’t think that it does.
Another interesting fact is when council members were asked to rank the importance of meeting with constituents and meeting with developers and special interests, each got 9 votes for second most important thing. 50% of the people answering thought found these activities important. (see page 5 of survey, page 14 of report) 72% would like to spend more time with each of these groups as well. Are you insulted that you are as a constituent rank equally with developers and special interests? Are you beginning to see what is wrong with our council?
When asked what council members spend their time on, it was development projects and neighborhood issues that ranked the highest. Then public safety, traffic and parks.
What would alders like to be spending more time on?
- “Professional development” – going to conferences or trainings is just not in the
cards because of time constraints.
- Housing & Library Issues
- I would like to do more research on environmental issues. I would like to talk with other alders individually more often.
- I would like to work more on environmental and lake issues.
- city wide policy, going to conferences (e.g. NLC)
- Update website more
- I wish there was more time to interact with other Alders and discuss issues – but we are constrained by time and by quorum restrictions.
- I would like to send out more constituent communications (newsletters, blogs, etc.).
- Eat, sleep, spend enough time outside…
Not sure this is earth shattering stuff, but its a mildly interesting glimpse into what alders think of themselves.
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