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'Public servants' or 'ruling class'?


To Mayor Heron and the rest of City Council:

I happened to read a headline in the St. Albert Gazette newspaper Saturday. It was titled, ‘Mayor ready to move utility corp along’ (Dec. 7 edition Gazette). After reading some of the quotes of yourself and other councillors, specifically Coun. Hansen, I have to ask the question of you and you colleagues:

“At what point in time did you all apparently morph from considering yourselves ‘public servants’ to something akin to a ‘ruling class’?"

You, and council, have been voted into office to represent your constituents in decisions needed to govern the City of St. Albert, not to have the citizens of St. Albert acquiesce in subservience at decisions that you and council make.

What really irritated me and compelled me to write this letter to you, is reading the comments, made both by yourself and other councillors quoted in that article, in response to the attendees who expressed outright opposition or had serious trepidations about turning the City’s utility department into a ‘for-profit’ corporation – apparently an overwhelming majority.

Your comment, “... I can’t bend to political pressure ...”, in attempting to justify accepting the opinion of one ‘completely qualified expert’ (whatever that is) outright, while disregarding the input of the 10 or so people who spoke against the proposal (some of whom also had opinions offered by other ‘qualified experts’), hints at a touch of arrogance and self-importance that has no place in any democratic meeting.

Even more egregious was the comment attributable to Coun. Hansen, “... It was a handful of people who show up quite often, and they are also a lot of the same people that write to the Gazette ... while their voices are important, there are other voices out there in the city we just haven’t heard from yet ...”.

Is this councillor suggesting that those people, who seemingly take a more active role in observing and taking part in what goes on in the governance of St. Albert, have opinions that matter less than the majority of people who are too apathetic or busy to be as actively involved?

St. Albert Council has a mandate to listen to the people whom they represent and act accordingly, not to concern themselves with continually attempting to find new ‘revenue streams’.  

Hopefully this letter will be published so that you, and the rest of council  can ‘hear from the other voices out there that they haven’t heard from yet’.

Randy Kish, St. Albert