A rich young man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what I shall do to be saved?” The first thing that our Lord said was, “Why do you call me good? There is none good but one: that is, God….”
Our founding fathers had a similar view of mankind. In Federalist Paper #51, James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
The subject of that paper was separation of powers through election of the chief officers of the various levels and branches of government, which are also separated to keep power from concentrating in one man or one body. As he said, “…[I]t is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others. Were this principle rigorously adhered to, it would require that all the appointments for the supreme executive, legislative, and judiciary magistracies should be drawn from the same fountain of authority, the people…”
In our local governments, we have no true separation of powers. Our City Manager, the chief executive of our City, is appointed by the Council and thus the Council is held responsible for the sins of the executive. This resulted in the election of a new council majority; their firing of our last Manager; and the subsequent recall of the Councilors who fired him. Our Chief of Public Safety is appointed by our City Manager. The People have no way to get rid of a bad police chief; he is entirely too safe in his job.
This City’s ordinance gives way too much power over taxi licensing to Chief Henner and his subjective opinion. He controls the cops; it is a simple matter for Joe Henner to tell police to stop a certain young man for anything and everything they can and issue warnings when they can’t prove a citation. There is no reason to believe that some Josephine County deputies don’t play along with their friends in the City in targeting certain people. Our department tracks warnings when other departments don’t. Why is that?
Mayor Murphy upheld the subjective opinion of an appointee of an appointee over the subjective opinion of a majority of our elected Council. What then, is the point of an appeal to the Council? This Council should override our Mayor’s veto and uphold its own accountable power over Chief Henner’s unaccountable power.