COLUMBIA, Mo 11/17/15 (Op Ed)
-- Up for re-election in April, Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas
has an unfortunate habit of projecting City Hall's top-down, "we know best"
leadership culture in his constituent emails. Twice in the past year
, Mr. Thomas has apologized for using his city email address -- ward4 at gocolumbiamo.com -- to tell constituents why he supported ballot issues, urging them to do the same.
An email he sent Sunday from his campaign address -- ian4thward at gmail.com -- is equally self-centered
Entitled "Campus Turmoil: What Does it Mean for the City?"
the 800-word letter claims to seek input from constituents on a dazzling array of issues -- from racism to affordable housing. "Only with the broadest community input can we create buy-in and the opportunity for success," the Councilman writes.
But virtually every paragraph is prefaced with “I” or "my" or “me”
-- “I believe,” “I see”, “it is clear to me,” “I congratulate,” “I want,” “I have been,” “I commend,” "my thoughts," etc.
Mr. Thomas references himself and his opinions nearly two dozen times, in fact, concluding with, "Those are my thoughts - what are yours?"
Readers needn't wonder what they should do next, or rather, what Mr. Thomas wants them to do, either. Six action items he prefaces with "In my personal view, we must...."
all take part in an honest and transparent dialogue about race and discrimination," he explains. "We must
"I want to extend my congratulations and sincere good wishes to Mike Middleton
and Hank Foley
- leaders who are highly qualified to take charge at this challenging time," Thomas says. "I congratulate City Manager Mike Matthes on his vision...promoting social equity as the foundation of the City's Strategic Plan."
But Matthes' "vision" is so chock-full of corporate welfare
it's almost laughable. The "social equity plan" he unveiled to much fanfare last summer is typical city leadership: use the poor as a lever to distribute government gooodies to powerful special interests
, or as First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton said, "use my people to pay your salaries."
Thomas almost has to interrupt himself to get back to the business at hand: asking for constituent input. "I encourage you to weigh in with your thoughts," he concludes.
So I did. "With all due respect, there’s not much room for my thoughts – or anyone else’s – between all those I’s, my’s, and me’s," I emailed my Councilman. "Or through that repeated command, 'We must....'"
-- Mike Martin