IN case you missed it, an exceedingly important resolution made its way through the city council this week, one that is now sitting on the mayor’s desk awaiting to be penned and approved.
Missed it? I can’t blame you if you did. I’ll give a hint of what it is – it is nowhere near as important as I am making it sound, but it does paint an odd picture.
And the answer is – there is now a resolution that is urging store-owners and grocery stores and the like to remove sweets and candies and other similar products from their checkout counters.
Anticlimactic, yes. Problematic? A little.
Let us divine Resolution No. 361, Series of 2020.
First of all, the compelling matter behind this issue is that this is, for as minor as it is, still an official action. The paper that this strange little request – it isn’t even a mandate through an ordinance – is on is legally relevant. It isn’t just some whim – there is a bit of weight to this. Granted, not as much as it would have been made into ordinance and law instead of being a formal request, but there is still weight.
And that weight manifests itself in public perception. The move has been subject mostly to mockery online, and achieves worse than nothing – it makes the council seem as if there aren’t more pressing matters on their plates that they have to deal with. Remember, this move, no matter how insignificant-seeming, is still something that the councilor had to write, look through, approve, and then forward to the mayor, who then has to look through it again and potentially approve or disapprove it.
There is little material cost, no doubt. Just the paper it’s printed on, and the ink that forms the words of this little resolution. However, even though it may have come cheap, this ate up a more valuable, invisible resource – time. Time had to be spent to craft this resolution, and it took time to make its way through the council, and it will take even more time to go through the mayor’s desk.
This paints a rather bleak image of the council. We are in the middle of a pandemic, of many actual, salient matters and issues worth discussing, and our lawmakers are spending valuable time on matters of so little significance such as this. More than anything, this seems at first glance incredibly out of touch – which it undoubtedly is – and does little to accomplish what it is intended to do, which is… prevent tantrums from little kids specifically in business establishments? Improve health and prevent obesity? These are hardly matters that will be solved if the sweets are moved back into the backrooms and far aisles.
This has become a recurring theme in this column somewhat – the idea that there are just better things to do. This resolution is not entirely a waste of time. But time is limited, and allocating that time to this matter that isn’t even guaranteed to benefit the community in the slightest, especially in hard times, is no bueno.
It also paints an unflattering image of our local community. Are the parents among us truly so unable to manage and raise their children, enough so that there is a need for an official stance against their unruly children? These matters should not be so widespread that there needs to be government action against it.
Of course, I as a single, childless man would not be the most reliable first person to be asked how to discipline children. And yet, even I know that this approach is flawed. It is more than solving the problem that simply addresses the symptoms of it, so to speak.
If even I, in my limited intellectual and legal capacity, can see flaws with this matter, then surely more members of the community will share my sentiments.
However, this is a done deal. Regardless of whether it passes or fails at the desk of the mayor – and there is very little difference between both outcomes – the cost has been paid. Time has been spent; and time, once spent, cannot be recovered or refunded.
So, instead of standing for more arguably irrelevant moves from the government, they must be held to their mandate of crafting and passing laws that engender significant positive change for their constituents.
Us, in short.