Saturday, March 2, 2013
Some commenters on Dean Ward's blog think its perfectly okay for a newcomer to get elected to our council, riding in on an establishment mayor's back after living here at the time for only two years, who is on record through a letter to the editor before the last election telling one and all how wonderful things were here in the Pass, only to once getting elected working to change everything here according to the way things were from where he came. That is, the big city.
When I arrived in the Pass as a newcomer it took me four years before I threw my hat in the ring. In getting elected, I spent the next three years of my term learning about the people and my community here, and what a great experience it was. For in those three short years, I met and got to know more people during that time that without being on council I doubt 30-40 years of living here would I have been able to do so. I also got to know my community... what made it tick. From this experience, and now having lived here for almost two decades, I believe I now have a firm understanding of how both my community and its people think, feel and what they want. In other words, how and why it ticks the way it does. This understanding took years in the making, with the help of a term on council.
How presumptuous and arrogant then for those ignorant of their surroundings here because of their recent arrival to dictate to those they really know nothing about. Makes me think about a book I read many years ago called 'The Ugly American'. The subject is about diplomacy and foreign relations, how Russia for example schools and educates their diplomats in the culture and language of a people, their customs and ways, etc. before sending them into any given foreign land. Whereas, the Americans send in a big tall Texan who ignorant of where he has been sent sits down, places his cowboy boots on the hosts desk and immediately starts dictating to them on how things are going to be. Y'all hear!
Our council is that ugly American and we here in the Pass have been made to feel and been treated by this council, and especially by the newcomers on this council, as some backward hicks in the sticks that don't know our ass from a hole in the ground. There are reasons for why things are the way they are here and why they have stayed that way for so long. Thinking you as a newcomer know better than the local yokels, treating people here like they were a bunch of dumb hillbillies needing to be 'edumacated' and brought into the 21st century, whether they liked it or not, is not the way to go about building community. Because you and a couple of other newcomers on council, along with a returning prodigal and wayward son, in league with unworldly, naive individuals more impressed with letters after a man's name than with his character and life experience, managed to get elected, does not give you carte blanche to push forward your own misguided and irresponsible agenda in record time that has not been bought into by those you were elected to serve. What gall to think and do otherwise! What arrogance! What stupidity and naivety!
Some times you have to pay your dues and learn the ropes before you dive into situations you know nothing about. Newcomers on council have a tendency of doing the latter before the former. As a result, as with this council, we are all now paying the price with the ongoing destruction of our community and the stifling and killing of its spirit.
Its time to step back and take an accounting of what you have done. Its time to hold that Town Hall Meeting you promised for last year that you have been postponing for almost a year now, in your fear of being held accountable by those who placed you where you are (and can soon remove you as well). Its time to stop delaying the inevitable and hear for yourself that the majority in this community are not happy with your governance, and want you to address the error of your ways.
In closing, let me just say, newcomers (of which many still today would say I am one) on council should put in at least one term in order to learn who its people are they are representing, and what their community is all about before taking a wrecking ball to the place is what I am saying here. You have got to learn to walk before you can run. Some members of our current council in their zeal to do right by this community have instead made a mess of things but maybe its still not to late to turn back the clock and to make right that which has been made wrong. It just takes a little character and intestinal fortitude to admit your mistakes, and do what must be done.
p.s. It seems like at least one councillor has distanced himself from the pack (see quote below) but to-date has failed to publicly say so, except by his absence. Will more follow suit? Or will they all choose to stubbornly go down with the ship, rather than admit they have been wrong? Time will tell? But time is running out...
When you have to start compromising yourself or your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you.