Toledo City Councilor Franki Trujillo-Dalbey resigns from the city council – with a thoughtful farewell
February 15, 2012
Dear Toledo City Council and Citizens,
I hereby formally resign my seat on the City Council effective February 15, 2012.
I want to say thank you for voting for me and thank you for believing in me. I did not take that trust lightly and I do not resign on a whim. This is a very sad day for me but I’d like to take a few moments to explain some of the reasons I’ve made this very serious decision.
I never intended to get involved in city politics. I wish I could say it’s been good, but it really hasn’t. I came on with lots of ideas and enthusiasm for working together with the council. But I quickly found myself in the position of watchdog. It seemed that at each meeting we were attempting to limit and restrict people’s rights by voting for unnecessary codes that tell people what they can and cannot do on their own property, or raising another fee and saying things like, oh what’s another dollar?
I found a stunning lack of understanding of Toledo folks and a callous attitude towards the difficulties faced by our citizens during these tough financial times. I found myself nearly always in the minority on most issues – and it’s been a difficult place to be. As the months went by, I found myself dismissed, disrespected and discouraged. The 30 + years of experience in social programs that I thought would be so valuable were ignored and I was often the only person supporting my view. I’ve been called names like libertarian, touchy feely, and accused of being too emotional. I’ve had my opinions and statements squashed, and if I said the sky was blue, there was at least one but often two people who argued the sky was grey.
These last few weeks since Mayor Lyon resigned have been particularly difficult for me. I was being recruited for mayor by community members who wanted someone who represented and understood their issues in the mayoral seat. I wish I could serve out my term, but the stress that comes with always having the minority opinion (literally and figuratively) is unhealthy and unproductive for me.
I strongly urge the people of Toledo to pay attention to what is going on in your city government. Attend a work session and see what councilors say when there are no cameras. Councilors are making decisions that directly affect your lives – like how much it will cost each of us to fund a new (and much needed) water system, or how long you can have a car parked in front of your own home, or how your needs are being represented in Salem. Lots of what we do is boring and seemingly irrelevant and often the most contentious or controversial issues are put last on a long agenda. But, each and every decision affects your life as a Toledo citizen.
Again, I want to thank the citizens who support me and believe in me. I will be redirecting my energies where I can be of value and where I can make a positive impact. I will continue to care about our community. I’ll just be doing it from the audience rather than on the dais.