A few years ago, when I decided to try to change my diet toward a more healthy one, I told my doctor my problem was that I didn’t like the foods that make me healthier.
He said, “It’s not that you don’t like other foods; you just prefer the ones you have been eating.”
He was right — and I’ve even reached the point now where I actually like broccoli.
On a governmental level, the Mason City Human Rights Commission needs to stop brooding about its change of diet and start eating the broccoli.
In March, the City Council stripped its budget from $143,000 to $15,000. That still puts it ahead of most cities comparable in size to Mason City — but it is a heck of a diet to have to go on. No one disputes that.
Some, including former director Lionel Foster whose job was eliminated because of the cuts, believe politics was the motive. Foster has also criticized the work of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and its director, Beth Townsend.
City officials believe the state commission can handle local cases, just as it does for dozens of other cities across the state. Townsend told the Mason City Human Rights Commission earlier this year it can send all of its cases to Des Moines or send none.
“There’s no downside,” she said.
Whether the Mason City Council played politics with the budget cuts or made a wise budget decision depends on who you ask. But there’s little question as to who is playing politics now.
At its meeting Thursday, HRC Chairman Dean Genth told the commission he knew of three people planning to run for City Council seats because of the budget cuts. “And that’s good,” said Genth.
What Genth hardly mentioned in his report was work being done by the commission or any cases that have been brought to its attention. He talked about a letter he received that referred to one pending case.
Foster, who was in the audience, once again criticized the work of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
The City Council action could have been the worst decision in council history — the worst in the history of mankind if you want to take it to extremes, as some would.
But the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is not poison. It’s a change of diet — maybe to something less preferred, but not necessarily bad.
Pass the broccoli, please.
- Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or email@example.com.