The Davids are coming, the Davids are coming

David-DeLong minnesota not so nice David-Ludescher
‘The Davids’ (David DeLong and David Ludescher) will be joining the Northfield City Council in January.  Every time I hear the phrase, it seems to indicate some anxiety on the part of the speaker, given that both men have a reputation for not always practicing Minnesota Nice in the arena of public affairs.

I like plain speaking but I’m hoping that both Davids will consider the how of governing, not just the what, once they begin serving.  We elected them to get things done and in the world of politics, that requires developing and maintaining relationships.

(If you were a movie-goer in 1966, the title of my blog post will likely strike a chord. See this Wikipedia entry if you’re curious.)

16 comments to  (Including 4 Discussion Threads) The Davids are coming, the Davids are coming

  • 1
    kiffi summa says:

    There are many things on which I agree with David deLong, and probably only a few that I disagree with … actually can’t think of any right now; and many subjects on which I disagree with David Ludescher, but a couple of very important current issues (Safety Center financing and Fire Dept) on which decidedly agree and am glad to have his voice contributing to the public arena.

    I think it is absolutely wrong to start at this point, to caution them, or the public, to be ‘wary’ of their ‘plain speaking’ … what do you want ??? UN-plain speaking, or what might, plain-speaking wise, be termed BS? :-)

    Meaningful governing relationships should be based on everyone being free to disagree as much as possible.. politely of course … and be respected for their thoughtful disagreement.

    What’s up with you, Griff ? I don’t get what you’re trying to do here …

    • 1.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      Read my post again, Kiffi. I didn’t caution them to be wary of their plain speaking. I wrote, “I like plain speaking.”

      I did write:

      given that both men have a reputation for not always practicing Minnesota Nice in the arena of public affairs

      which one must read between the lines a bit to get my drift.

  • 2
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Griff,

    I’m not sure if this comment belongs here or in the “Locally Grown Northfield is changing” thread…so move it if you want.

    One of the things that LGN seems to me to uniquely provide is the space to raise and discuss/debate controversial Northfield issues. Without having one’s principles or basic nature called into question. That is, you can speak out for or against an issue, make your argument, and have other people chime in. The Northfield News, by contrast, seems to be an organization that runs press releases from governmental bodies and sends fawning reporters out to write glowing articles about how great things are. To a certain extent, Northfield Patch does this as well, at least on school issues--there’s no digging down or presentation of a view the Superintendant hasn’t personally approved or endorsed. I don’t follow Northfield.org closely--after you left, it seemed for a long while more like a community bulletin board--people could post notices of events or maybe a thank you of some kind, but controversy was generally avoided (maybe that’s changed recently--I haven’t been really keeping track).

    Therefore, I share with Kiffi the puzzled reaction to your plea to not speak too directly. Although I agree that simply ‘mouthing off’ doesn’t add up to governing wisely, I think we need more--not less--plain speaking on the city council (and, as always, the school board). We need less--not more--Minnesota nice veneers “shielding” the public from backroom deals of the type that routinely go on in both bodies.

    It is, of course, totally your blog and your place to do whatever you want with it—I’m just trying to identify what I find unique and valuable about the current version.

    • 2.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      Kathie, thanks for your kind words about what you think LoGro brings to the public affairs arena here in Northfield. I plan to continue having LoGro be a forum for that, though as I comment a few weeks ago, my own blogging voice might change if I take on a consulting contract with the City.

      And I agree with you, we always need more plain speaking on the Council and School Board, though I actually think most of the current councilors have been pretty good at it.

      Since both Davids have now chimed in here, I’ll reply to them to help clarify.

  • 3
    David Ludescher says:

    Griff,

    You and I probably have a different opinion of what an elected official is supposed to do, and therefore, a different opinion on how things can be accomplished. In my opinion, an elected official is not elected to “get things done” for the people who elected him or her, but is elected to be a voice for the people. As the people’s voice, an elected official needs to make sure some things don’t get done, especially if those things are for special interests, or burden one class of people at the expense of the others.

    • 3.1

      Which of course becomes difficult when multiple classes of people want things done (or not done) which would be burdensome to each other.

    • 3.2
      Griff Wigley says:

      David L, I meant the phrase “get things done” to include any actions.

      So finding a way to halt the current financing plan for the Safety Center would certainly qualify as getting something done, no matter whether one agrees or disagrees with it.

      My caution relates to how you go about trying to make that happen. As I commented here on LoGro a few months ago, your repeated accusation that the Council didn’t have the courage to take the financing of the Safety Center to a referendum was a needless insult to them as human beings since you can’t look inside a person’s head/heart and determine whether they were being courageous or not.

      So let’s assume it’s now March 2013 and the Safety Center issue is over with and you lost. And there’s a new issue in front of the Council that you care about and you need allies on the Council to make it happen (or not happen).

      But if you’ve burned your relationship bridges with your fellow Councilors, you’re marginalized. You may continue to speak out for what you believe to be the voice of your constituents but you’re ineffective as a politician at times because you can’t get others to join you.

      Barack Obama kind of has the same problem, so you’re in good company. ;-)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/obama-should-socialize-with-congressional-leaders.html

    • 3.3
      David Ludescher says:

      Griff,

      I stand by my comments that the councilors lacked the courage to take the matter to the voters. Their lack of courage was evident by their actions. I hope that when I am on the council, other councilors or my constituents feel free to point out my faults -- preferably to my face. And, please don’t feel as if you have to feign insult on my behalf.

      Allies on the council can be healthy, but, as this council has shown with the Safety Center, it can be also be destructive of the representative process. Somebody has to be willing to say that “the emperor has no clothes”.

      • 3.3.1
        Bob Gilbertson says:

        I have two reactions to this. First, it strikes me as counter-productive to label the decision rule you like as courageous and the one you dislike as lacking courage. Why not call it un-American too? Or undemocratic, or cynical, or any of the other adjectives that get thrown around by politicians? Because, especially in a small town, it’s nice not to throw around too much flame.

        Second, I happen to agree that the Safety Center financing should have been put to the voters, but am really having trouble seeing that as the “courageous” option if we’re going to talk about this topic in terms of courage. The way the Council did it, they had to raise their hands and vote in public on what was sure to be a controversial issue. Deciding not to take a stand, but instead give the issue to the voters, doesn’t strike me as particularly courageous. Doesn’t courage have something to do with acting despite danger? What’s the danger to a council member in punting an issue to the voters? The danger is casting a yes or no vote on a controversial issue is easy to see -- public criticism and potentially being voted out of office.

      • 3.3.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Bob,

        Sometimes citizens have to speak out against their government. I hope this council understood that my criticisms were directed to them in their role as a government official and a government body.

        As a body, it had the legal duty to let the voters vote on any debt. It didn’t do that.

      • 3.3.3
        Griff Wigley says:

        Bob, well said.

        David L, I’m glad to see the change in your tone when you wrote “I hope this council understood that my criticisms were directed to them in their role as a government official and a government body.”

        It might be good to have a cuppa coffee with each of them, just to check on that.

  • 4
    David DeLong says:

    Can I be the Alan Arkin character?

    If I remember correctly we have a public whipped into a frenzy by well intentioned, misguided persons jumping to conclusions using tunnel vision and facts to fit what they want to believe without the whole picture. Then when everybody stops and thinks about the stereotyping of the “enemy”, and when authority and leaders admit that maybe they can be wrong, everyone eventually gets around to doing the right thing to benefit the most people and rescue the kid hanging from the steeple.

    If we continue the thought and this had happened in Northfield I bet the Rescue Squad / Volunteer Fire Department would have scooped up the kid in our bucket truck while other people would still be talking about who should be on the ad hoc committee to study the situation.

    I shudder at the thought of what a Risk Manager from the League of Minnesota would have done in that situation.

    • 4.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      David L, yes, you can be Alan Arkin’s character. Is it his uniform that appeals to you or his manner of influencing people? ;-)

      • 4.1.1
        David DeLong says:

        Griff,
        David D. here, It was I that wanted to be Lt. Rozanov or that other Alan (not Adam) Arkin character Capt. Yossarian from Catch – 22.

        I know we have the same shadowy avatar thingy or whatever it is you call that thing to the left, but continuing on with the movie theme, think David L.(Tom Cruise and A Few Good Men) and then there’s David D. (think Walter Matthau and Grumpy Old Men).

        You asked if it was his uniform that appeals to me or his manner of influencing people. Well if by that you mean the bad boy black leather jacket and cap I would reply that I spent time wearing the uniform of the US Army and I’m happy with that. Besides they say clothes don’t make the man.

        So that leaves his method of how to influence people. Earlier in the movie when he tried a logical explanation, his words fell on deaf ears. When faced with convincing a closed minded, obedient to authority, pigeonholing,stereotyping mob mentality mob,what should he have done? Give up so he doesn’t burn bridges? When should a person give up? Did he give up or did he have to ratchet up? Did Yossarian give up or ratchet up? Will the new Council give up? What choices do they have?

        There are still people that believe Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. How do you communicate with them? Can well meaning people admit they were wrong without having to ratchet things up or put an asteric on the correct outcome?

        Can you fix dumb? Can you cure ignorance with logic?
        What will Dave L. do? What will Dave D. do? Will they be unique? Don’t forget Dana he’s the Chief. The 2 D’s are just indians.
        Wow what will the Council look like in 3D? Will it be the Three dAmigos? In which case I want to be Chevy Chase.

        So many questions, so hard to predict the future. I guess I’ll have to keep coming back to Locally Grown for further updates, information and elucidations.

      • 4.1.2
        Griff Wigley says:

        David L,

        I found a couple of photos of Alan Arkin as Capt. Yossarian from the movie, Catch 22. Either of these resonate with you? (click to enlarge)


      • 4.1.3
        Griff Wigley says:

        Hmmm, three male D’s (David L, Dana G, David D). The Three dAmigos or the Three Stooges or The Triumvirate, aligned against the four female councilors, AKA The Femme Fatale Four Pack?

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