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Friday, December 30, 2011

Hark! Welcome 2012!

The New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we’re itchin to make. It’s the time to draft our list of wishes and intentions for the New Year.  While it is wildly popular to vow to go on that life changing diet, quit drinking (which by the way won’t be on CL’s list while reporting on this assembly), take up a new hobby, get organized or out of debt, we trust that you will come up with that lofty personal list if you choose to do so. 

And it would be tempting to come up with a laundry list of resolutions we WISH the Borough Assembly would make, but perhaps it’s a good opportunity to pen a few that we WISH the citizenry of the whole Mat Su would adopt.

1.      Get out of that snuggy, put down the remote, and pay attention!  You really don’t expect only a few folks to do the heavy lifting of engagement in local issues do you?  Local governance is the place where folks can make the biggest difference. Throwing up your hands or penning a letter to those who participate in the political theater in DC doesn’t get you much more than a form letter in return.  Here, closer to home at least you can get a personalized scoff or nod of approval at your suggestions.

2.      Participate in the public process by starting with your own voice. The opportunity for you to speak out in public meetings in the Borough appears to be slowly but methodically gerrymandered out one ordinance, one change at a time.  Participate and hold those on the Assembly accountable that would diminish the time allowed for this important part of governing.  You give the doers of evil a bonus by allowing the assembly chambers be filled with those that only agree with a few assembly member’s personal ideology.  Be your own cheering section for the sane.  If you just can’t be there in person, and let’s face it, not everyone lives shouting distance away, listen to the live stream on Radio Free Palmer for each meeting or download the podcast on the site.  Really no excuse to miss it! And then call or send the Assembly an email with your thoughts on their actions.

3.       Pay attention to things that you believe in like public education, borough planning and economic development. You know the cornerstones of what makes us a viable, livable, prosperous community. Let your views be known by public testimony, emails and phone calls to your assembly members. Too often the excuse for assembly action or inaction is not hearing from the public otherwise on an issue. Waiting for “your issue” to be in the forefront is too late.  We need to go to battle for each other’s issues.  It is a well known fact that some or all of the Assembly keep scorecards of who is for or against an issue and use it as their rationale for lame logic and poor votes.

4.      Word of mouth is still one of the best vehicles to get the word out. Email is an amazing tool without the cost of a stamp or the time of a phone call. Use it.  Contact your neighbors and other members of the community to inform them or better yet drag them with you to Assembly meetings and share the bevy of knowledge.

5.      Demand that your Assembly members be present.  Continuously “phoning it in” is not an acceptable way to represent your constituents. Those that step up to lead shouldn’t be able to do it from a perch in another country or even from an area of our own country. We don’t allow our state or federal delegation to participate in voting on issues or testifying by phone, so why are we settling for less?  Insist on more.

6.      Pay special attention at budget time at the Borough, which by the way, is right around the corner.  Budgets have become the red herring of governments.  Don’t allow the starving of the beast to set the agenda.  Insist that your taxpayer money is well spent but be realistic about the cost of those services.

7.      Demand a Borough iron clad ethics code.  If your city within the Borough doesn’t have one get the ball rolling to get one in place.  Be adamant that the Borough adopt a better one (they will get a chance at the Jan 17th Assembly meeting) and that it sets the bar high.  Lip service on this one doesn’t cut it. A good solid, easily understandable ethics code will make the rest fall in place.  It will guard the Borough like those fancy lions you see at multi-million dollar mansions.

8.      And last, but certainly not least, regularly read this blog, share it with your friends and neighbors and always follow the golden rule of exercising your right to VOTE! 

     Have a safe last holiday of the year weekend.  Swill some good champagne, be good to yourself and mindful of your neighbors whose cat, dog or family member might not enjoy the fireworks as much as you do.  

    Best of 2112 to you all! 

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