Town Council

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A Lesson from Politics

Posted by on 25 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: thoughts on life., Town Council

I know, I haven’t been posting much lately. Instead, I’m made the switch from blogging to micro-blogging, i.e., twittering.
At twitter, I post multiple, brief updates every day as to how I’m doing or what’s going on at the moment. I encourage you to join twitter and start following me, and I’ll keep an eye out, and be sure to start following your tweets as well.

But on to the lesson from politics: No one wants to make the difficult decisions. It’s much easier to just pretend like everything’s okay and nothing’s wrong so that you don’t have to make a difficult decision.
The problem is, things are wrong, and unless you make a difficult decision today, you have a MUCH, MUCH more difficult decision years down the road when you’re literally forced into taking drastic, drastic measures.
The lesson is fight for the small incremental changes today, and hopefully you’ll get there…

I’m still learning this politics thing.

First: Town Council Meeting

Posted by on 09 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

Last night was my first Town Council Meeting as a council member.

I made a motion and voted yes on all items.

Jim, our Water Superintendent gave a wonderful presentation about the real cause of water quality issues reported above fold on page one in a misleading article appearing in a weekend edition of The Evening Star. It ended up being a faulty water heater. Jim did a great, thorough examination and report. I can only hope The Evening Star will be sure to include this correct information in their paper tonight–although it will probably be buried and contain no photographs.

I enjoyed the meeting, and I enjoyed getting to talk to council members Bob Knott and Al Shuman for the first time, too.

Picking Up My Mail

Posted by on 03 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

Today I stopped in to the Waterloo Town Hall for the first time as a member of the Waterloo Town Council.

I have my own mailbox, which had several things in it! I think there are several month-end reports which we get the beginning of each month. I had several things in my mailbox! Reading material. :)

It’s all starting to set in, I’m a councilman. My first meeting as a member of the council is Tuesday, so I have five more days to prepare for the meeting. I don’t think anything will surprise me too much…especially since I’m expecting to be surprised!

Waterloo Oath of Office

Posted by on 11 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Town Council

Over lunch break, I stopped by the Waterloo Town Hall and took my Oath of Office. It was nothing spectacular. Just Renata, our Cleark-Treasurer and myself. I raised my right hand and repeated the Oath of Office after her, and then signed it.

That was it. But now I can officially take the office of Waterloo Town Council At-Large (my official office) on January 1, 2008. (State law mandates the oath is taken sometime between the election and the first day of office.) Until then, you can continue to call me Councilmember-Elect Diehl.

Conference Recap

Posted by on 30 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

Yesterday (Thursday, November 29), I attended a conference in Fort Wayne for newly elected municipal officers, hosted by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. There were all kinds of people there–professional politicians from second class cities (population 35K-600K) as well as Joe-Shmoe from a little 150-person town. (I almost got that many votes!)
A few thought and observations:

  • The conference was at the Fort Wayne Hilton, just two blocks from my wife’s work at Lincoln Financial Group, so we got to carpool together. That was wonderful!
  • The guy sitting directly in front of me was wearing a pager. Yes, an old-fashioned pager. I hadn’t seen a pager since I threw away my old pager three years ago. I didn’t know you could still get service on a pager. Interestingly, he got paged and left the room for about 10 minutes at one point. Gotta love pay phones, right?
  • At one point of the conference, there were two lawyers talking. One of the two was an intellectual, and had issues speaking like a normal person. It was somewhat difficult for me to follow his thought pattern, as his every sentence was complex and difficult to follow. Well, one guy–the only guy in sweat pants and a t-shirt–Joe Shmoe from a very small town–said in a normal-volume voice, as he leaned toward his neighbor, ‘You can tell he’s a lawyer.’ This was quite amusing to everyone around us, including the IACT corporate attorney sitting next to me, who had a great sense of humor all day, anyway. It was a funny moment for those in the back of the room.
  • I sat two seats down from the Leo-Cedarville Councilman-elect Gordon Liechty, Jr. I remember Gordon Liechty from Oakhill and Calvary Temple. Perhaps I remember Gordon Sr., I don’t remember. Perhaps I’ll ask my dad later today, as I’m sure he can satisfy the curiosity of my childhood memories.
  • The proper term is councilmember, not councilman. I think this is Politically Correct. You can call me Councilman Diehl though. (Actually, until January 1, call me Councilman-Elect Diehl.)

It was a good conference. It was a wealth of knowledge and helped me to feel better about the undertaking ahead of me. Probably the most beneficial part of the conference for me was the legal stuff about what conducting Open Door Law-compliant meetings and what constituted a meeting, an Administrative Meeting or an Executive Session. It’s confusing stuff. Bob Knight was fired (legally) by Miles Brand holding individual meetings with a non-quorum group of members, while another non-quorum group was going on in the next room, and while a third non-quorum group was in the next room. He went from room to room (legally) and had closed meetings with each of the non-quorum groups. Once they all knew where the other trustees stood and after discussion, they held an open meeting and fired Knight, knowing the trustees would be in support.
This is confusing stuff, and was the start of popularizing and enforcing Indiana’s Open Door Laws.

But for the next month, I’m not a councilman, so I can meet with anyone I want. After January 1, that’s a different story!

Conference for Newly Elected Officials and Other Waterloo Thoughts

Posted by on 16 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

The end of this month, I will be attending a conference for newly elected officials, since I’m a newly elected official. I take office on January 1, 2008 on the Waterloo Town Council.

There is a lot I need to learn, and I’m looking forward to learning more about what is ahead of me. In particular, I need to learn about Open Door laws, what I can and what I cannot do behind a closed door. You know me–I always want to do the correct, ethical thing, so it will drive me crazy until I figure out what I can and can’t do.

Another thing I’m looking forward to is reading through the ordinance book. It’s in a 2 1/2 or 3″ binder. Lots of reading, but I look forward to reading through that intently, and getting up to speed with what Waterloo’s ordinances look like.

The great thing about this conference is it’s in downtown Fort Wayne, so I’ll get to drive my beautiful wife Emily to work, park in her lot, and then get to drive home with her right next to me. It will be great to get to spend extra time with her!

Waterloo Town Council Results

Posted by on 06 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: Town Council

results are in:
Diehl 136
Schuman 127
Hubartt 119
Smith and Bice followed close behind.

And yes, this is the final results (it`s a small town, u know…L

Waterloo Town Council Debate Recap

Posted by on 02 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

Last night was the Waterloo Town Council Debate.

There are five candidates running, and four showed up. The fifth sent a letter which was read by moderator Ken Surber.

I think I did well at the debate. I think I answered each question directly and without beating around the bush. There were a few questions which I was not familiar with the subject, but think I provided insight into the logic I would use to come to a conclusion. (One such question I answered something like, ‘I would want to know our current expenditures, and how much this would save, and find out when we would recoup our investment.’)

I believe I came across as ‘on the ball,’ and I think people appreciated my directness and positive outlook. I didn’t come in with a strict agenda, but instead, I come in with a ‘I want to learn and help the town’ attitude. I do not have all the answers–but I do want to find them.

I am looking forward to helping the town. I am encouraged by the direction of the Town of Waterloo, and look forward to located effective ways to lower the operating overhead of the town departments, enabling us to get our rising utility rates under control. In this year alone, the current board has cut $40,000 from it’s operating costs by better management. I suggest this trend can and will continue.
I’m looking forward to being a part of this.

Vote Diehl on November 6!

Waterloo Town Council Debate Prep

Posted by on 30 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: Town Council

Thursday night I will participate in my first political debate.

I’m a bit nervous, as I am often not a real fast thinker, and like to ponder and research the best answer before I give an answer. I am concerned I’ll get asked a question I know nothing about, like, ‘What are your thoughts on the proposed bla bla ordinance?’
‘ahh…what’s the bla bla ordinance?’

It will be a learning experience for me, and I am looking forward to it.
I am looking forward to rubbing shoulders with those people I’m running in the race with, including Bill Hubartt, Randy Bice and Matt Smith.
I have played Softball with Matt previously, and go to church with him as well. He’s a great guy. All those guys are great. I can’t speak for the other dude, though…I don’t know who he is, and don’t know his name, either–but I can assume he’s a great guy!

It should be a nice friendly debate.

Unfortunately, my wife has a business trip on Thursday and won’t be in attendance to support me. But I know I’ll be in her thoughts, as I normally am.

In my prep for the debate, I’m trying to figure out what kinds of questions will be asked. If you were submitting questions to potential council members in your city or town, what would you ask them?

R3: Republican Rally Recap

Posted by on 26 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: random., Town Council

Last night was the DeKalb Country Republican Rally, and it was my first time at such an event.
It was good to network with people, and I reconnected with several people I hadn’t seen or talked to in quite a while, including,
Marilyn Gearhart (Auburn City Council), my 11th grade math teacher, (if I remember my grades correctly!). She was caring and genuine, and actually asked me, ‘So did you end up doing anything with the math I taught you?’ I thought that was a great question, and made me really admire her. She was happy to hear I got a math minor in college. :)
I got to eat supper with Auburn City Councilmen Rick Ring (who is retiring off this year) and David Painter. It was good conversation and I enjoyed hearing stories from them about their City Council meetings.
I also met Greg Kenner (Auburn City Council), the father of my DeKalb classmates Jeremy and Garrison, and got to get updates on how they were doing now.
In the crowd of people, I got a chance to talk with former Eastside math teacher and DeKalb County auditor John Fetters–who is an incredible man. If you ever get a chance to meet John, please do!
I spoke briefly to Jim McCanna, whose three oldest kids I ran with in school. I saw several teachers from DeKalb, although most didn’t recognize me…
There were several State Senators in attendance, including Senate Pro Tempore David Long, Dennis Kruse and Bob Meeks. State Representatives included Phyllis Pond, Dick Dodge and Marlin Stutzman.
Pro Tempore David Long gave a keynote address which highlighted the progress Indiana has made over the last three years. Bold changes which were made for the best of the state and without regard to political correctness. Did you know that the other 49 states universally think the leasing of the toll road was a very wise decision? There is only debate in Indiana. Did you know that recently, Indiana was rated the 11th most business-friendly state? (after being in the bottom 10 for years). It was good stuff to hear. I can see why David Long was elected Pro Tempore. It would not surprise me if he were to run for US Representative or Senate sometime in the future.
I actually was able to introduce myself and give a brief talk. I was given 60 seconds, so I couldn’t say much. After introducing myself, I also noted this was my first time running for public office, and I told the story, ‘When I was six years old, I remember standing in front of the TV watching the Regan-Mondale election returns from the 1984 presidential election. I was engrossed by what was happening on TV, and as Regan won in a landslide, I decided then and there I wanted to be a winner–a Republican. Thank you.’

It was good. I enjoyed my time with friends and colleagues. It will happen again soon!

Gearing Up for the Election

Posted by on 25 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: my life., Town Council

With the fall election just 12 days away (November 6), things are starting to gear up politically.
This morning I have a phone interview with a reporter from The Evening Star. She said it may take about 30 minutes, and I’m a bit nervous for this, as she may ask questions I don’t know the answers to…I sure am hoping my mind is quick this morning!
Tonight I have a Republican Rally to attend, where Indiana Senate Pro Tempore David Long with speak. Apparently, I (and the other five candidates for local seats) will speak for about two minutes. Still not sure what I’m going to say.
Next Thursday night, there is some kind of a ‘meet the candidates’ night, where all five people running–three Republicans and two Democrats–will be present. I still do not know what kind of format this will be, whether informal meet-and-greet, or if it will be a more formal debate. My wife will be on a business trip on this date, so I’ll be on my own for this one!

Just thought I’d give you an update!

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