Former Republican Candidate for House District 35
Remarks by Council Member Bruce Baker to the Westminster City Council on December 19, 2016
Do we want to repair the relationship we have on Council?
My remarks tonight are for my colleagues on council. For everyone listening to my remarks please do not think you are intruding on a private conversation because this conversation needs to be public and it impacts our entire city. I feel the relationship between myself and my council colleagues is broken. I would like change that reality. I don’t know if all council members feel the brokenness of our relationships with each other, so I feel it is my duty to begin the conversation and initiate a dialogue.
Please let this be a dialogue. I am not interested in harming what are already terribly hurt feelings. I am not making accusations nor am I wanting to fight with anyone. I hope we can be successful with a “CPR” in our relationship.
Remember, today CPR can be done “hands only”. Mouth to mouth is not needed. Silly metaphor aside, I sincerely wish to instill new life into our council relationship and a better future for all of us. Let’s make this dialogue about the future. Let’s leave the past as learning examples and not let it be wounds that fester.
It is more saddening to me that this broken relationship is between adults of great compassion, determination, learning and experience. We are way too tough and smart to have let this happen to us, but it did. I hope we are tough enough and smart enough to repair the damage that has been done.
I think our relationship is important because the voters and residents will be better served by having seven members of council working together. We don’t have to work in unison or lock-step, but we do have to work together. I view dissent as not only beneficial but essential, especially within the context of majority rule. Our city moves ahead by majority rule.
I have maintained my optimism about how our council can work together because I know the true commitment every member of council has to supporting an open, transparent, inclusive government and community. If our council cannot be successful in modeling and achieving these goals in our relationship, it will be even harder for Westminster, as a whole, to achieve those goals.
Inclusiveness is place I suggest we begin. To me, inclusiveness means having every member of council occupy a meaningful place in our discussions and deliberations. This is where I feel that I am excluded. To me, it feels like instead of my observations and opinions being sought out, you dread every time I speak up. I feel you do not want to take time listening to my observations or opinions, so I feel my observations and opinions are not even heard.
Moreover, I feel you do not want to engage with me in the dissection and exploration of issues that come to council. I have felt several times that your decisions had already been formed before council had explored the issue.
I also feel that because you do not want to spend your time, or is it waste your time, listening to and hearing my opinion, you use your bias to prejudge my positions on many issues. Instead of hearing to what I have to say, you have set in your minds on the negative, sometime the most negative reasons for any opinions and motives I have.
I do not see this conduct as inclusion. I do not see this conduct as respecting and valuing me as a member of council.
Now every relationship is a two way street. I thought I had been careful with the attitudes and sensitivities of members of council. If I have insulted any member of Council I apologize and I expect them to speak to me in a side conversation. No one has reached out to me, I have had no side conversations.
Indeed I remember several incidents where I have reached out to you, but had no response. And this is where it is important to remember to let the past serve as examples from which we can improve rather than be a burning inventory of wounds that never heal. I say this in spite of the events of the past 3 weeks during which I reached out several times to you and received only silence in return, and that still hurts me very much.
I want healing. I think the best way forward is healing. I sincerely hope you feel the same.