Last night, I watched half of the Aurora City Council led by Mayor Coffman and reinforced by Council members Marsha Berzins, Francoise Bergan, Dave Gruber and Curtis Gardner try to justify their dereliction of duty. The many instances of hypocrisy and personal attacks leads me to speak on it.
You see, Aurora has a City Charter. It is like our constitution. It provides rules for different situations such as appointing a representative to the vacancy who will serve until the upcoming election. A change to the charter can only happen by putting the language on the ballot and the people of Aurora voting on it.
Last night, half of the council wanted to discard the charter mandate. They want to carve out a special exception to council members violating the charter by not appointing a representative to Ward II. Shameful to anyone who is elected to carve out special treatment to protect themselves.
Violating the charter means civil and criminal charges. While that may not be enforced, it also puts the city at risk for countless lawsuits challenging any vote that happens after the vacancy appointment deadline of July 29. Any development, zoning, incentive, policy that happens after July 29 could be legally challenged. This is because the votes after July 29 are connected to a charter violation of not having a tenth councilmember appointed. The repercussions include taxpayer money used to defend lawsuits as well as overturning and essentially halting important city business.
Motions were made “Let the people decide.” Of course, the people will decide. There is an election in November and votes will be made. If I could have made a motion, it would have been: “I move for Ward 2 to have the same representation as the city’s other five wards.”
Abdicating their responsibility brought up the ugliness of why people hate politics. It is shameful, unethical and Aurora deserves better.
Call it as it is. Have the courage to say, the way we get a conservative in Ward II is through lots of money and appointing them so they have the incumbency advantage. But don’t be the definition of the favorite word of the last two years…”disingenuous.”
Nicole Johnston is the former Ward II Aurora City Council member for the seat local lawmakers are attempting to fill.