There appears to be some people out there that’s still asking, “what is Robin trying to accomplish with the blog?” I’ve got more than a few answers for those still wondering. If you’re looking for a quick answer so you don’t have to read any further – I’ve been building a case.
Before I submit details of the case, I want you to keep this little intro/invitation in mind as you read;
It is of primary importance that the general public increase its participation in the decision-making process. In order to actuate this input, the citizen must acquire an understanding of the legislative structure and process and then organize concerted efforts to effectively demand representation.
Individuals can have an impact on specific legislative proposals, provided it is made at the appropriate time. Organized community and citizens’ groups can multiply the impact of that individual effort.
Organizing citizens’ groups to deal with specific community problems is extremely important. Such groups provide a focal point
from which citizens can participate in the decision-making process and influence legislation.
The intent of this CITIZEN’S GUIDE is to provide some of the specific information needed to get in touch with the RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME to make your concerns heard. It is hoped that it will be a reference tool that will assist you in your efforts to be heard by public officials.
To get your very own Citizen’s Guide, you can visit the State of Michigan (SOM) website. This guide is encouraging participation at the State level, but I thought checking out my own back yard was a great place to start. Yes, I believe that it’s of primary importance that we participate in our local government decision-making process.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “recession” being thrown around, as well as “deficit”, well if you’ve noticed the first things officials do when they need more money, is level some scare tactics to force you into agreeing to give up more tax dollars. Instead of responsibly cutting frivolous or prioritized spending, you get faced with Police protection and Firefighter cuts (Blissfield is already employing an excess of officers, so we’ve got some padding there). The reason for cutting these services first is to grow your contributions no matter what. This manipulation can be prevented if we all get involved and hold some feet to the fire (pun intended).
I’ve been building a case to show:
- Good leadership is worth demanding.
- Poor leadership appoints more poor leadership.
- If they’re looking like they’re working hard, the hard work should be translated as appropriate, useful, selfless or beneficial to the community.
- We have ordained individuals that were neither elected nor appointed whose positions should be reconsidered.
- Our officials don’t know everything/don’t have all the answers, and are not representing me, are they representing you?
- Instead of issues being proactively and creatively addressed, money just gets thrown at them.
- Instead of fostering connectedness in the community, division is being insured.
- Our community needs to work together.
I’ve also provided a forum to encourage discussion and debate regarding Villagers interests and concerns. Something I felt was much-needed. We have too many residents willing to keep their opinions to themselves, perhaps they have learned speaking out brings them nothing but grief. A remote alternative could be they are just really happy with the way the Village is being run and willing to pay for the decisions made for us regardless of the consequences.
Did you know that we have a whole business community that probably feels they’re between a rock and a hard place because verbalizing their concerns may more than likely result in a loss of business? I would prefer to change a shut-up and put-up community with one willing to identify our negatives and deal with them through community initiatives.
If we don’t act when others are being treated unfairly, it’s only a matter of time when it’s our turn (unless you’re in the elite network).
Did you know that when this blog first surfaced, individuals were coming forward in opposition to my opinion and were subsequently strongly advised by our leadership not to respond to this blog? Then they tried to make the case that I was preventing their oppositions from being posted. I can only vision little dictators running around our streets spouting bad press about this blog because it threatens their position of power. Those that have heard the venom can attest to this fact. You’re being advised not to log on. If you otherwise ask questions, you’ll just get a pat answer (keeping the issues one-sided).
This behavior shows me that our officials can’t take a little criticism about what they’re up to. Doesn’t it make you wonder why?
They are preventing community engagement – they have actively undermined an effort to promote open discussion and comment – they’ve effectively deterred free speech. Wouldn’t the logical conclusion regarding the reasons for painting criticism as vindictive anarchy be because they’ve got something to hide? When you’ve done nothing wrong, the light of day shining on your activities would be neither here nor there.
As well as the stronger name calling I’ve just mentioned – those that don’t agree with decisions the network are making are also labeled “negative” or a “complainer”, they condescendingly attribute your attitude is not in the best interest for the community, not because they’re right – because you object to their philosophy or agenda.
I just witnessed this in the past Council Meeting when Mike Gunter was not in accordance with providing tax breaks for Debbie Royal and Kathy Valdez on top of four other grants (two each) they had been, or in the process of being issued. Art Weeber looked at him and warned in a what’s the matter with you manner, “It’s for the downtown core”. This coming from a Councilman that just received his own facade grant and successfully sequestered the operation of a Market in front of his business instead of promoting the hosting of the Market in the downtown core where a greater number of businesses could benefit. It’s for the downtown core when it’s convenient to view it as such, obviously.
If our leadership was good, they would promote and welcome discussion, it’s nothing but beneficial.
Image courtesy of Francesco Marino