Current Lakeville City Councilmember Matt Little publicly announced, just a a few minutes ago, that he has decided to run for the mayor of Lakeville in 2012. He notes:
Lakeville needs leadership. Leadership that is accessible to citizens, that is reliable, and that is objective, credible, and innovative on the issues. Since being elected last November, Councilmember Matt Little has provided Lakeville with that leadership.
There has been an uproar within Lakeville’s City Council regarding Little’s use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, including his decision to actively post messages to these networks during council meetings. As such the Lakeville City Council has met to decide whether this needs to cease mainly because at least one council member, just doesn’t “see the benefit of Twitter.”
Matt Little indirectly responds to those within the City of Lakeville in his press release for his mayoral bid with this:
He attends numerous community events where he interacts with attendees. He also makes himself available through every medium available to citizens. This includes traditional methods like meeting for coffee, sending letters, and phone calls but he’s also known for his use of new communication tools. He is the only member of the Lakeville council who maintains a website where citizens can engage with him via e-mail or a survey, and he utilizes Facebook and Twitter as mediums for open communication. “I attempt to be available through whatever means are available to citizens. It’s about communicating through what citizens want to use, not what I prefer.”, Little says.
Lazy Lightning asked Councilmember Little about his use of social media and if he believed that the few people who may utilize it for communicating directly with him is worth the time sink it has become which may be detracting from more important issues within the city. Little said while he uses both Twitter and Facebook, his Twitter account isn’t leveraged in quite the same way as his Facebook account. Councilmember Little noted that while he spends less time on policy discussion on Twitter he instead uses it for, “quick little spins on things,” and links to important local news stories. His Facebook page, however, has more than 400 followers and he states he believes, “there are always more people looking at it than are directly interacting with it.”
Little went on to say, even if it’s only a couple people interacting with him on social media site, it’s definitely not a time sink if it’s helping those people be involved. In response to the opinions of the other councilmembers Little said, “Even if the four other people on the council don’t find it useful, it most certainly is because people are using it now.” He argues his use of social media is a ‘non-issue’ and does not believe it was a worthwhile use of anyone’s time to setup a special meeting to debate social media use on the council.
Little’s press release then touts his belief that he has maintained his campaign promises something which he notes, “It’s important to do what you say you are going to do,” and that the constituency is generally “skeptical” about elected officials because so many have failed in meeting the goals they promised during their campaigns. He then provides the passage below as evidence of his commitment to doing exactly what he promised:
During his campaign for City Council he was vocal about the need for budget cuts, new administrative staff for the Police Department, increased community involvement, and to re-focus new spending on needed infrastructure. Budget cuts were passed during the first four months he was in office, new administrative staff for the Police Department was hired within eight months, and an aggressive plan to repair Lakeville roads was passed within ten. This was all done while reducing the levy for 2012.
Lazy Lightning asked Councilmember Little to clarify his statements being that he is only one member of five on the council. Is he really able to safely attribute all of these items solely to his own work? Little responded he feels the addition of new admin staff is definitely attributable to him while budget cuts are only half his ideas as the city staff brought the other half to the table. Councilmember Little noted repairing infrastructure is at least “mostly attributable” to him as people became informed through the campaign process and their support is why the changes occurred. He continued by noting his involvement with both the speeding on Flagstaff issue and Highview Heights hockey rink reopening as he spent the time to closely work with those in the community to get others involved and put their hard work in front of the council.
Lazy Lightning then asked Councilmember Little about his desire to run for Mayor of Lakeville and what benefit he thought it would serve his constituency over his current position as a councilmember. Councilmember Little responded that he believes even though the City of Lakeville does not have a strong-mayor setup, the mayor sets the tone for the what the rest of the council works on and the tone of the work environment as well. Little believes that in order to have an effective council they need to have healthy disagreement however while he wants to improve policy, the current council seems to make personal attacks instead. He feels that if he can take control of the gavel he’ll be able to use it as a tool to encourage respect which will be beneficial for everyone on the council, staff, and the general public as well.
You can view more on Matt Little’s website here. He has agreed to respond to respectful questions posed by Lazy Lightning readers below. So feel free to go ahead and comment on about your thoughts on Lakeville Council member Matt Little’s decision to run for Lakeville’s Mayor in 2012.