Commentary by Dave Freneaux
Last week I named the “Elephant in the Room”…Politics. This week I have been further convinced that the Elephant’s “nickname” is Politics, but its full name is Political Parties. Never has it been so evident to me that Central does indeed have clearly defined Political Parties, and that is not a complaint, simply an observation. In last week’s editorial I did nothing more than to point out the consistent and predictable 3-2 split on almost every controversial issue faced by Central’s City Council.
This recurring split, with Council members Messina, Washington and LoBue on one side and Council Members DeJohn and Moak on the other, is very real but it is not spoken about in polite circles. The “divide”, as some call it, could more accurately be described as Political Parties. We see Political Parties at the State and National level and we accept their existence. What would make anyone believe that Central could dodge the bullet and not have clearly defined political groups, each trying to run things the way they think is best? Since it is unlikely that either “party” will name themselves, I will suggest the Purple Team and the Gold Team. It can be like the LSU football team scrimmaging itself, they are all from the same place but have chosen to play against each other, at least for a while.
I guess in a way I am just trying to simplify all of our lives. Conversations about policy issues in City government happen every day with people on the Purple team and the Gold team trying to pretend that the SOLE determining factor in the argument is the issue itself. The arguments people construct to justify their stance without admitting that politics are in play are complicated, convoluted and frankly tiring.
It would be refreshing if Council Members could just come out and say “Both A and B are valid decisions, and I could support either one, but the Purple Team supports A so I will now argue that A is good and B is bad.” I would just once like to hear the absolute honesty of a Council Member saying “Compromise would be excellent here, but that would make the Gold Team look reasonable so I am going to claim that I am too principled on this issue to compromise. GO PURPLE!” At least then, everyone would be speaking the whole truth.
Here is the problem with teams, and the reason no one talks about them in Central: Once you admit there is a Purple Team, and by default or out of self-preservation, a Gold Team, you have to ask the question, who decided to form the Purple Team and what are they trying to win? Once you figure that out, all of the rest of the Politics will probably make much more sense.