A New Perspective 1-06-05: Community/Government

Golden Gate Gazette

January 6, 2005

This is the time of year when it is hard to get any work done because so many people are traveling or tied up for the holidays. The other problems for those of us in the newspaper business, is that the fast hard hitting news isn’t generally available.
The same movers and shakers that make the news happen are busy with their holiday plans.
Usually this time of year, the news is filled with environmental news, park service news, and water quality alarms. Those in the business of trying to grab the spotlight know that this is the best time of year to make hay, while the sun shines.
The typical news started to make the headlines last week, when all of a sudden the Tsunami crisis hit. It knocked the alarming environmental news right off of the pages and the headlines of the nightly news.
When you put out a community weekly during this time of year, it also gives us a moment to highlight some activities that normally can’t compete with the high school sports, or the fight of citizens to get what they want out of government.
The news is always happening around us, we just don’t normally get to cover things such as you’ll find in this week’s paper. It’s good news too. It’s actually kind of fun.
Most politicians like this time of year too, because the demands placed on them are less as their constituents are off of their backs because they are so busy doing things other than their normal routine.
Individuals must have a little more time to reflect as the year ends and they look at how they’ve lived their lives the past 12 months.
Bringing in a new year creates a desire for people to make new years resolutions.
I would like to offer up a big one.
People always complain about government and all of the dumb things it does. If you want better government then make yourself a resolution to read the local newspapers and pay attention to what government is doing. When you find out, what they are doing, make a lot of noise and voice your concerns to your elected officials. If you don’t feel they are doing anything for you, let them know what you want them to do for you. The saying is so true that government is run by those who show up.
This past election year found very little competition for our locally elected officials. If we as constituents remain quiet, complacency can set in and your elected official will do what he thinks is best, rather than you telling them what you want.
Government left alone, will go off in directions that make you shudder. They generally take the path of least resistance. If you aren’t complaining or offering suggestions, they think they are doing a good job.
Elections are the only thing that keeps government running smoothly because the politicians have to give you promises of what they will do, or account for what they have done at election time.
We need to hold our elected officials accountable more than at election time.