Alderman Shawn Hamerlinck held a meeting Saturday morning for people from his ward or other wards to come hear him speak and speak with him. It took place in the community room of the new Fairmount Street library, and LaWanda Roudebush attended and made sure the logistics went smoothly, which they did. I would say there were about 15 people there at the beginning, and 20 eventually as more drifted in. At least a quarter of the people, including myself, were from other wards. Many of them had either been impressed by Mr. Hamerlinck's actions so far, or just were interested to see his constituent meeting, which not all aldermen offer. Shawn handed out a lot of documentation for people to pass around and look at, such as the city budget, the 2025 comprehensive plan book, and Mr. Ashton's documentation regarding his opposition to the casino hotel proposal. He seemed to be a big fan of transparency, (Fly would be proud) and Ms. Roudebush pointed out that a number of these things are available at the libraries.
The meeting basically boiled down to a gripe-fest, which is to be expected, and there's nothing wrong with that. Its important for citizens to let their representatives on the city council know what's going on, and what problems they are facing. Shawn made it clear that he is doing everything he can to repeal the stormwater fee, and would not touch public safety in order to pay for it. He mentioned a few ideas, and many of the attendees had their own suggestions for places to cut fat from the city budget. If there was anyone there in support of the stormwater fee they were very quiet, because it seemed like the people there were nearly 100% opposed to it. JoAnna Graller-Hintz was there to voice her opinions and suggestions, some of which unfortunately involved physical harm to various city officials. I'm sure she was joking, so I won't elaborate on that. Others had specific issues with how the stormwater fee was being calculated on their rural property, upcoming zoning issues, or corruption on city committees. The meeting was wide open for anyone to talk, and it lasted over 3 hours.
While I disagree with many of Shawn's opinions and politics, I do believe he is honest about what he thinks and what he wants to do. He could be a leader on the new council, although I am concerned he could come off as acting like he has all the answers so early in his political career. I do believe I can trust him not to pass a "fix the budget" fee and call it a stormwater fee, or hold "Riverfront Input Meetings" where input is the last thing they want. This is similar to the praise I gave to Bill Boom before the election. Even if I disagree with someone's politics, I'm glad to have people that are truthful and transparent on the council.