Borough Assembly Sinks to New Lows
WC, fairly obviously, is not often at a loss for words. But this is thesaurus territory. How to describe the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly?
Incompetent seems so . . . inadequate.
The latest issue is Birch Lane. Fairbanksans will remember that on August 30, 2011 11-year old Jamison Thrun was struck and killed by an SUV driven by Yiki Kim. Thrun was walking to school along Birch Lane. Kim was speeding; there’s some question why she was speeding. But there’s no question many, many people drive too fast on Birch Lane. It was a problem long before Jamison Thrun was killed. Some in the Birch Lane community want speed bumps installed; they are a simple, cost-effective solution. Others think sidewalks would help.
Nearly a year after Thrun’s death, nothing much has been done. A grant for the construction of sidewalks and speed bumps along Birch Lane came before the Borough Assembly last night. It was ugly.
Inept implies an effort to do the right thing.
Members of the local road commission objected because they thought the process hadn’t been properly followed. Never mind that the issues had been before the local road commission for years before poor young Jamision Thrun was killed, and the commission hadn’t been able to accomplish anything. Never mind that it has been 11 months since he died, and the local road service commission still hadn’t done anything. No one on the Borough Assembly had the moral courage to tell the commissioners, “This matter is before us because you have utterly failed to do your job. Sit down and shut up.”
Incapable implies an attempt to accomplish something.
Assembly member Nadine Winters apparently wants to study the issue more. Why? Hasn’t it been studied to death? Specifically, to Jason Thrun’s death? Assembly member Michael Dukes thought, “[T]his needs to go back to the commission and allowed to be put in their hands for them to have their own decision making power and manifest destiny.” Mr. Dukes is making even less sense than usual – “manifest destiny”? – but it is the job of the Assembly to act when, for whatever reason, a local road service commission fails to act.
So nothing was accomplished. The matter was postponed indefinitely. Nothing will be done to make Birch Lane safer for pedestrians. There’s not even a clear path forward from where things sit now. But a construction season has been lost. Another school year looms. Modest props to Assembly member Mike Musick, who at least asked if this was about protecting kids or protecting the tender sensibilities and greed for power of the local road service commission members.
Failed will have to do.
[N.B. The Assembly did manage to defeat Assembly member Matt Want's idiot idea of submitting department budgets to the public for an advisory vote. But, as WC's grandfather used to say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.]