Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I’ve come to realize that one of the greatest hurdles
council and its members as individual face are the expectations.
And I think this is particularly true during the first few
months of a new council.
Backers of candidates who won election hope for something
different, even if they are not entirely sure what that should be, but that
does not decrease the expectation.
Supporters of losing candidates tend to say to the winners,”
OK, you won, now what are you going to do about this, this or this”, and expect,
perhaps demand, that the new council prove it can do better than the last.
And members of council face their own expectations. Every person who runs for council has a desire
to see things improve financially and socially, and wants to see that happen
quickly. If elected they soon learn the stark reality that there is no quick
when it comes to changing a community’s fortunes for the better, or often even
accomplishing one significant task, such as demolition of the Brody block or
tearing down blighted housing.
Oil City whether as a community or as Oil City government is
greatly constrained, as is every city in the Commonwealth. It is a matter of money, a matter of state
mandates and limitations on the options available to cities; the community’s
demographics, geography and even how government is designed to work.
So many expectations, or at least quick gratification, will
not be met. Progress is a process.
Add to this that whenever there is a new council (by that I
mean new members) there is a bit of a dance that occurs. The group dynamics
have changed and every member of council must come to understand how the others
think and how all will work together. And the one expectation everyone should
have and that should be met is that council always works cooperatively. That
does not mean always agreeing, or even avoiding spirited dissent or discussion,
but an understanding that we are all there for the same reason.
Fortunately, that has largely been the case for as long as I
have been on council.