Tuesday, May 26, 2009

About Tonight

One of the many problems of staging a 15 person winner-takes-all Royal Rumble over the course of a single evening is that, not only does the schedule prove to be unnecessarily inconvenient for some of the participants, but, most importantly, it becomes brutal on the spectators. If anyone thinks tonight's spectacle is going to be an exemplar of municipal charter beta-testing, we have some subprime loans you can invest in at a cost no one can beat!

Much of this has to do with the council's apparent desire to condense this process into as short a time as possible and to pivot the submission and presentation dates around one of the busy travel holidays of the year. To wit:
  • The submission deadline was before noon on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, a day many people -- not just potential candidates -- leave the office early to visit family or go on well-earned vacations.
  • The "Selection Spectacle" takes place the next Tuesday. Many folks tend to take extra days off around holidays like Memorial Day to get a little more bang for their vacation day buck. They plan for these weekends months in advance.
  • Not only is there just one chance for candidates to make their case, but likewise there is only one chance for the public to question them. (Likewise, we didn't see any "Get to know the Candidates" article in the NW, but, seriously, like that was going to happen over a holiday weekend?)
  • The Dog and Pony Show will be brutal to sit through. Of the fifteen candidates, 13 appear to be attending the meeting. Let's assume all 13 will be smart enough to use the entirety of their allotted 5 minutes to make their case to the council (but, miraculously, not a second more). That alone will take 1:05. Let's assume that the council will devote another 5 minutes to questioning the nine "viable" candidates as outlined by Ron Hardy: now we're up to 1:50. Let's add another 15 minutes of polite banter between the council and split among the 6 "nonviable" candidates, because there's nothing more embarrassing than going through this whole process and hearing nothing but crickets at the very end. We're already at over two hours and the public hasn't even been allowed to ask questions to the candidates yet (and it's not like the council has been known for making its own train run on time, either). In other words, this will take all night.
  • And despite the marathon municipal jam session we only get 15-20 minutes with each candidate. That basically guarantees that the person chosen will have a long track record in Oshkosh as it will be impossible to introduce one's self in such a brief period of time.
So in the end, the person most likely selected will be of the city's "elder statesmen," and likely under the assumption that he or she will merely be filling out the rest of the term then go quietly off into the sunset. We're cool with that.

Maybe that's how things are supposed to work? Maybe this process will succeed despite itself?

We'll see.

1 comment:

Ron said...


You are right, this could be marathon, but maybe they'll coast through the consent agenda with little controversy and get the party started early.

At any rate, us home viewers with DVRs or Tivos should be warned to record the 9 p.m. - Midnight block of Gov access as well as the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Will it go past midnight?