I talked to Common Council President Pro Tem Mark Clear yesterday. Clear, after having served two years in the number two position on the Council, is running for president against Ald. Marsha Rummel. Unsurprisingly, Clear and Rummel are the only two alders to have commented (with their real names) on The Sconz. Let it be known: Friends of the Sconz get to high places.
I asked Clear to respond to some of the criticisms that other alders direct at him and Council President Tim Bruer: They are subservient to the mayor and that they disregarded Council tradition by not stepping down after one year.
Clear rejected the notion that he and Bruer are the mayor's yes-men. In reality, he said, Council leadership discuss and debate issues, often "very contentiously," and usually come to a realistic consensus out of that process.
On the issue of Council tradition for presidents to only serve one year, Clear said that leadership should mean something, and that it shouldn't simply be "something that everyone tries on."
"In the past there have been caretakers...I think the position should be important. It's important to set the tone of the Council and to represent the Council to the executive branch."
When I asked Clear if he believed the Council leaders should have a role in shaping the body's agenda, including what issues it takes on, he said that in a group of 20 people, it's not productive to have everybody fighting over what gets done.
In discussing his strength as a candidate, Clear emphasized his experience working with Ald. Tim Bruer, as well as his ability to "engage anyone" in city policy.
The vote will take place at some point after 6:30 p.m. tonight. There is some general business that will take a little time but they should vote pretty soon afterwards. You can watch it on TV on channel 98 or channel 12, depending what your cable deal is, or if you have cable at al. Watch online at the city website.If anybody knows of any other channels for different TV deals please tell me.