EDITORIAL: Council answers grand jury and community with silence | TahoeDailyTribune.com

EDITORIAL: Council answers grand jury and community with silence

The City Council’s response to the critical and scathing El Dorado Grand Jury report is embarrassing and disheartening.

After barely addressing the report in public after its release in late June, the council approved a 20-page response within 5 minutes at its Tuesday meeting.

The response the council did approve, that was mostly written by City Manager David Jinkens, goes on for 15 pages before the city agrees with any of the grand jury’s findings without clarifications. Those 15 pages are peppered with the phrases “the city does not agree in part with the finding,” “the city agrees and does not agree in part,” and “the city does not completely agree with the statement,” among others.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting to having one.

The response also includes the statement that the city “is unfamiliar with the term bush league,” in reference to the grand jury’s assertion that the public believes the city has a “bush league” City Council.

The Tribune found the definition of “bush league” within less than a minute in Webster’s New World College Dictionary, copyright 2001, page 198. We would hope the city could take the time to do the same. We would hope that the City Council would be embarrassed to send a document with blatant, willful ignorance to a judge as a response to a grand jury investigation.

But, like many other times with this council, we have been proven wrong and have been disappointed.

After 15 pages of disagreement, the city’s document does accept many of the grand jury’s recommendations, although with some reservations. We hope the city will keep its promises when it comes to training elected officials and staff on state and local policies. We hope that the three soon-to-be-elected City Council members and new City Manager Tony O’Rourke take the grand jury’s findings and this community’s perceptions more seriously than the previous guard did.

There is one part of the response that the city gets right:

“Ultimately the quality of local government is heavily dependent on the quality of elected leadership and the city encourages responsible and eligible people to run for public office … The city believes the people of South Lake Tahoe will exercise their right in November 2010 with knowledge and thought about the direction they think local government should take over the next few years. An informed and involved electorate is a positive safeguard and healthy asset to ensure efficient and effective local government.”

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – November can’t come soon enough.

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