Monday, February 9, 2009

If you don't like these rules, whose would you use?

Rules, damn those rules...

As a trial lawyer, I can tell you, sometimes the law can be a bitch. That's right, it often gets in the way of what you want to do.

Fortunately (or unfortunately if you feel like it), rules and laws are what we live by. Along with opposable thumbs, it is what separates us from the animal kingdom.

A perfect example of the power of rules was had during the Florence City Council Meeting held today. It seems, a majority of council wanted to set the date for a referendum on nonpartisan elections. But that majority did not have the requisite 2/3rds majority to call the question.

Some council members seemed upset at these rules. In fact, it was apparent that some council members did not even know the rules. Because if they had, it would not have taken an hour and multiple failed votes for them to realize there was an insurmountable impasse.

A word of advice to our City Council members: Our city council just got called out recently be the South Carolina Supreme Court, for not following the rules (illegally trying to change certification dates during the primary controversy). Learn the rules and work within them.

Here's Florence Morning News' article and it provides a perfect example of what I'm talking about when I say "know the rules." Councilman Brand says:

“There were four that wanted it to pass and three that didn’t,” Brand said.
“And, therefore, because of a ruling by the mayor that it takes two-thirds to
pass it, instead of continuing the meeting on into the night, I just decided to
defer it to the next meeting so that I can look up some other legal venues to
take on this issue. That’s the best I can say about it.”

Councilman Brand...the Mayor did not issue a ruling, he stated the rule. As in Robert's Rules of Order, the rules the City Council adopted by ordinance long before Mayor Wukela was elected.

Remember, there are reasons we have rules:

“Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.” -- Larry Flint

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