Fred Schmidt writes to justify his May 16 vote to fund surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia. And justification is sorely needed: Not only did First Ward voters choose to reject the installation of surveillance cameras, but Fred himself ran for office on an anti-camera stance.
Fred’s best argument for voting to fund the surveillance cameras is that “nothing would have been gained by a meaningless protest vote”. Perhaps in Fred’s decision calculus nothing would have been gained, but perhaps we can articulate what has been lost.
To represent others in an elected, decision-making body is a difficult task. Nevertheless, Fred could have at least forced a council debate over spending priorities. The First Ward is short a fire company and lacks a competent police force, yet Fred could have represented his constituents by representing their views in open council and initiating a debate.
Moreover, there is a matter of integrity. One should not run for elected office opposing something and flip flop on that issue at the first available opportunity. Can First Ward voters trust Fred from here on out? Will any of the promises Fred made during his campaign stick or will we find that political expediency and power politics are the most important determinants of Fred’s vote?
Only time, and your pocketbooks, will tell.