1. The resolution authorizing a council solicitor was never introduced.
2. Doug Shields is home sick today, and that may or may not have played a role.
3. Councilman Motznik was on KDKA this morning with Marty Griffin talking smack on the very idea of a council solicitor. That may or may not have played a role.
4. A member of Council who differs with Jim ought to go on KDKA, ASAP. If Councilman Motznik really wants to grandstand this issue out on the airwaves, he ought to be prepared to get as good as he can give.
5. There are currently four votes for a Council solicitor. GUESS WHO'S NOT THE FIFTH VOTE YET.
Is there anyone out there who still thinks that our City Solicitor is in a position to play the role of impartial umpire of the law?
"(Shields) wants to do this because he doesn't get the answers he likes when it comes to billboards or vehicles, the petty stuff that a few council members worry about," Motznik said. "It's kind of like going to a different doctor because you don't like your prognosis that this doctor is giving you." LINK.
First of all, we would hardly call deep-seated balance of power issues, and issues of rampant ongoing noncompliance with our own law, "petty stuff."
Secondly, all lawyers -- by definition -- are wrong approximately half of the time. It is their job to argue a position. That is why we use the "adversarial" relationship in modern legal practice and consider it such an efficient and valuable thing. If we are going to deliberate at Council, both sides should have some technical expertise. It is what the framers intended.
It would also be good for the people. Why should we have one wizened figure emerge to say, "I am a lawyer; I know." This is not robust dialogue.
We should be unafraid to have spirited, public legal conversations, to show both our deference to the law and our concern that it be applied uniformly and in good faith.
It is said that the man who represents himself has a fool for a client. City Council should be at all times responsible, serious and cooperative with the administration. But we can afford it to be a fool no longer.
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