August 15, 2022
Pocatello City Council Member Chris Stevens made the following statement during the August 4 City Council meeting:
“I had hoped to complete my term on City Council without having to publicly say what I will say this evening. It may seem at first that what I am saying is unrelated to the censure of Councilman Bray. It is not.
I had hoped that the unbending devotion by this mayor and the council members who embrace his governance philosophy of a subservient council that shirks its statutory duties as the financial guardians of public money could shift. I had hoped that at least some version of considered debate based on research and facts could develop.
Unfortunately, instead, the status quo continues and the hostility and attacks on myself, Councilman Bray, and Councilwoman Ortega continue with increasing intensity.
When we ask legitimate questions, we are screamed at by the mayor, or city employees, and labeled bullies.
In fact, you saw just moments ago a perfect example of how information is blatantly denied. Never before has the entire council needed to agree that a single council member can get financial information only if the entire council agrees that she needs it. This is the kind of arbitrary information denial that goes on all the time.
When we three advocate for restrained city budgets that includes staff reductions through attrition and not filling all vacated positions, we are labeled hating city employees.
When we question Fire Department expenditures, we are accused of trying to close fire stations.
When we question police officer budgets, we are either attacked through complaints filed by the police chief against our spouses or gang bullied by police officers with their chief egging them on in uniform from the sidelines and accused of being racists despite a decades long pattern that contradicts that.
It goes on – but the pattern is clear.
This resolution to censure Councilman Bray is nothing more than yet another intentional, planned attack on a council member who does not drink the establishment Kool-Aid. This establishment consists of the mayor, his cohort council members, his chosen inner circle of department heads and managers, and the city employees who believe their rhetoric without investigating.
This city deserves better, and I will no longer remain silent.”