Friday, March 28, 2008

The City Council Security Issue: Idealism vs. Realism

Councilman Sam Hall left a comment on my blog post where I disagreed with his decision to vote against possibly ramping-up security measures at City Council meetings. Considering the recent shooting at a City Council meeting in Missouri, I thought it would be wise to look into security measures.

If I were on the City Council, I would have voted for the security measures inquiry, but it would have left a sour taste in my mouth. It’s not a good thing when politicians fear their constituents and Mr. Hall agrees with me.

In his comment, Hall wrote, “our response to security concerns should be measured reasonably and balanced with access to the civic process. City residents already feel somewhat alienated.”

Hall is right; a city council meeting where ideas can freely flow and no one fears a reprisal for conveying their thoughts is the most ideal situation for Pensacola, but unfortunately, this isn’t current reality.

When this issue came up for a vote on Monday night, Mr. Hall chose to be idealistic, and the other nine who voted against him took the realistic route. They looked at the reality of the situation and determined that there could be a genuine security concern at City Council meetings.

Mr. Hall isn’t wrong to be idealistic on this issue, but sometimes you need to pepper idealism with realism.