Lorain City Council Chambers -A tale of two passions ——
For the past few days there has been a heated debate as to the rescinding of an ordinance passed in November 2011
THe current ordinance involves calls for 75 percent of qualified Lorain or Lorain County residents to be hired for projects of $100,000 or more and includes a stipulation that workers unionize while working on the project. Nine percent of local hires must be minorities.
There was much ado about the ordinance at Monday nights council meeting
Lorain changing local work requirements for contractors (with video) Rick Payerchin
But the issue prompted different responses from the leader of the Lorain County AFL-CIO Federation of Labor and a local contractor who said the rules block some companies from bidding on Lorain’s public jobs
Two of Lorain’s Council members on Monday voted no! 1st Ward Councilman Brian Gates- and 6th Ward Councilman Rick Lucente- Councilman – at – Large Tony Richardson was absent . This act sent the legislation to a 2nd reading and a gathering of the forces tonight .
However tonight Brian Gates was absent as was Rick Lucente- Tony Ritchardson did show and cast the alone no! vote causing the whole thing to move to another vote Thursday. . I would suspect there will be further “gathering ” to fill the chambers on Thursday
I felt very sad as I sat in the middle of the chambers tonight. There was the posturing, testosterone flowing as well as some mouths – the polarization in the “stands ” all fighting for the vote of a council person- you could hear the “we supported you – you won’t get our vote” mentality rising to the fore.
I looked around me- the participants of passion filling every seat and standing all around the room – heeding the call of their respective leaders – a show of force to show council members their power of the vote in the upcoming elections ( that is usually the way it works). This government chamber that usually sees a few elderly men and women sitting surrounded by vacant seats – was, before the meeting, over heating with body odors and emotions. Added to the mix were the Lorain Police Department who were there “just in case” passions flared inappropriately. I was concerned as more and more people filled the chambers as to whether or not it was exceeding the capacity.
The Union Leader ( at least I assume he was the leader ) pouring his energy out gearing up his supporters, talking at length to the “in the running” council want to be’e’ s.
The rows in front of me where sat some of the local contractors who were also there wanting to be seen and have their needs addressed. Men and woman of an “American” workforce divided by the shirts they wore but with one thing in common that I don’t think entered their minds tonight polarized as they were, their common denominator – work!
I saw the passion on their faces , each group wanting to work, to be able to work and earn a decent living. This piece of legislation that divided and was causing such an uproar- needed not this posturing.
I wondered as I watched why the leaders didn’t lead and negotiate something that would have been beneficial to both union and non-union – after all this wasn’t “historic” legislation this ordinance only came into being in 2011- surely some of the passion could have been put to better use “working” something out so that all who wanted work are able to do so.
If Lorain is to succeed then all of us need to put Lorain first- that goes for unions, non unions, administrations and council people. I know that when running for an elected office there are donations given by groups etc in order to elect a council member etc that best reflects their ideas. It is the way of elections in this country.
However, Lorain City Council members must also realize they also have to do what is best for the CITY of LORAIN- she is the one that needs their passion and support and their attendance at meetings!
We will see what tomorrow brings – hopefully less posturing. passion and polarization .