Just as bad as Washington

October 2, 2013 

At the St. Clair County Board meeting on Monday, County Board Chairman Mark Kern derisively said, "Welcome to Washington."

He was complaining about a delayed vote on some projects he favors, but his comment more appropriately applies to the delay he undoubtedly engineered on a MidAmerica Airport vote.

The MidAmerica ordinance would put control of the airport under the elected County Board rather than the appointed Public Building Commission. Kern opposes that change.

The Judiciary Committee on Monday at first unanimously sent the ordinance to the full County Board. Then Kern cleverly called attention to the subject of the ordinance. Just like that, Committee Chairman Roy Mosley Jr. asked that the ordinance be postponed until January. It was as if Kern's voice snapped him into remembering that his job was to delay the vote.

Committee members Michael Baker, Dixie Seibert, Joan McIntosh, Ken Easterley and Lonnie Mosley happily flip-flopped. Only Michael O'Donnell voted "no." He'll probably be booted off the committee now for daring to dissent -- the fate that befell former Chairman Frank Heilegenstein when he cosponsored the MidAmerica ordinance.

This is exactly the sort of political maneuvering that angers the public about Washington.

The other ordinances and resolutions were legitimately delayed because no one could say that they had been submitted 10 days prior to the meeting as state law requires. The MidAmerica ordinance didn't advance solely because Kern doesn't want the full board to vote on it.

It's not that he's worried the ordinance would pass; Kern controls enough votes to easily defeat it. He must not want his supporters to have to go on record as being against such a common-sense measure. Of course the elected board members should control the airport and the millions of dollars spent and lost on it each year.

The maneuvering on this important airport issue should make the voters think hard about Kern and Co. Welcome to St. Clair County.

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