JeffQuibell201002 Differing opinions, and the discussions that come as a result, contribute to our society and provide a necessary vehicle to reaching a good decision. As I read Michael Freeman’s Op-Ed column in Saturday’s Examiner, I realized that it presents an excellent opportunity to discuss the difference between personal opinion and representative leadership, along with the attributes that we should seek in our elected officials. I encourage you to read his article, “Quibell column distorts trash debate”. http://bit.ly/mf201008  ( My original column can also be read at http://bit.ly/jq100825)

Over the years, I have occasionally been critical of our elected officials in my articles, primarily for two reasons. The first is when I view behavior that appears disrespectful to the people coming before the council in order to do business with our city. The second is for pre-determination of their positions on the important issues that they decide for our citizens. The first is an issue of common courtesy. The second is a matter of state law.

Mr. Freeman presumes that I have made up my mind on the issue of trash hauling and even goes so far as to suggest what my opinion might be. He, like some I have criticized in the past, appears to have made up his mind before he has all the facts. Personally, I value our freedoms and prefer to have the right to choose my own trash hauler. I have used several over the years and like the locally based company that I currently use.

Our elected officials, if they are following the law, do not have the freedom to predetermine their decisions. They are obligated to consider all of the facts presented to them and make their decision based on the facts, representing the best interest of our citizens. Our finest elected officials sometimes find themselves voting opposite of their own personal opinion when the facts support a different conclusion. Regardless of the decision they make, it is impossible to please everyone. At times, they even disappoint themselves.

I am flattered that Mr. Freeman considers me as an Uncle, although I can confirm that we are not related. As for Councilman Fowler, while we do not always agree, he is a passionate elected official who has served our city for many, many years, and certainly not someone I would characterize as evil. City Councils exist to work out the differences between competing interests and to make the best possible decisions for their citizens. It is sometimes thankless work and often opens the official up to public criticism.

My encouragement to our City Council is to obtain and review all the facts, and then and only then, make the best decision for all involved. This decision will affect all of our citizens, the businesses who serve them, and the employees of those businesses who live in and around our community. Like many, it is a complex issue when viewed outside the bubble of personal opinion. I am confident that this Mayor and Council will keep those things in mind and do their job with integrity and in the best interest of all.