At tonight's city council meeting history was made in a strange way. When the council voted to increase the permit and parks fees, both first ward councilpersons voted "NO"!!!
If you remember, a few weeks ago, we wrote how the mayor takes a vote at council and he always asks for the "yes" votes but NEVER asks if there are any "no" votes.
Well, tonight it backfired and proved the point we made in a past editorial. When it came time to vote on the permit and park fee increases, the mayor asked for the "yes" votes, and, once again, didn't ask if anyone was against it. He then stated that they both passed until councilman Oliver had to stop the mayor from proceeding forward and passing the resolutions by saying he was against the fee increase. The mayor then asked for any "no" votes, and Lori Hunt and Junior Oliver both voted "no", which made it a tie vote.
According to the Dowagiac City Charter, one of the few jobs the mayor has is to break ties. Well, Mr. Lyons sat there, appeared shocked by the "no" votes, and he didn't do his job and break the tie.
See, Mr. Lyons, this is why Roberts Rules tell you to ask for any "no" votes. Every meeting it appears that you just know that nobody disagrees with you. This time it happened, and you were so shocked that you forgot to break the tie vote.
If anyone sees Mr. Oliver or Ms. Hunt, thank them for doing what is right and for shocking the mayor so bad he forgot to break the tie.
Another congrats to Shelby Willis for speaking to council about her treatment from Vicki Phillipson when she was Ms. Dowagiac. That took a lot of courage for that young woman to stand in front of the council and speak, even though most of the council was reading papers and some didn't even pay attention to what she was saying.
Once again, the city attempted to say they have no control over the chamber. Well we believe they do. Every letter sent out by the chamber has the city logo and DDA on the letterhead.
In the past, when there was an issue with the chamber, the city attempted to pawn it off as "we have no control over that office." We believe they do; after all, the city does pay for the health care of the chamber director.
After seeing "no" votes tonight at council for the first time in many years, there just may be some hope for residents to get an honest and fair council yet.