Tuesday, January 20, 2004
In serving the city with a $49 million lawsuit, former Steamboat Springs City Council candidate Marcus Williams said the council's decision to turn down the liquor license for his proposed jazz bar would bring bad karma to everyone involved.
Williams may be right. But the bad karma in question is being created by his lawsuit, not by the city's decision. And those who will pay include the city's taxpayers, his one-time potential constituents.
Williams is suing the city for $49 million for allegedly violating his civil rights in turning down a liquor license on the basis of moral character. In his application, he failed to disclose two "driving while ability impaired" incidents in his past.
Frivolous lawsuits against the city, which Williams' surely is, may be targeted at the City Council and staff, but taxpayers are the ones who ultimately are punished.
In lean economic times, the city balances its budget by shaving funding for public services and programs. If money has to be funneled into a lawsuit, the absence of those funds will be felt elsewhere.
It is an odd process to be put in motion by a man who just a few months ago professed a desire to represent residents as a member of the City Council. Of course, even in that endeavor, Williams bounced from announcing at a public forum that he was dropping out of the race to re-entering it two days later.
Yes, bureaucracy can be frustrating to deal with, but processes are in place to work through the red tape. Residents regularly find ways to understand and heed city ordinances with satisfactory results, but Williams seems to have trouble doing so. Along with the suit filed last week, Williams is embroiled in a municipal court case in which he pleaded guilty to violating a section of the Community Development Code by placing boulders over the city's sewer easement and was ordered to fix the problem and pay the city $3,160.
A few months ago, Williams wanted to be a public servant. Instead, with the filing of his lawsuit, he has become a public nuisance.
Karma is the belief that the totality of a person's actions in one stage of existence will determine the individual's fate in the next stage. Ironically, the day after Williams filed his suit, City Council members were at the White House, receiving a prestigious award for historic preservation. Not exactly bad karma.
Rather, given the totality of Williams' recent actions, perhaps he is the one who should be concerned about bad karma.