Friday, April 19, 2013

Petition Drives Government

The  public's reaction to the mayor's proposed policies and the city council's official action is creating citizen activism. Petition drives are powerful tools to be used when citizens don't agree with the official actions of their duly elected officials.

Petition drives have a place in local governance but when it becomes rather common place, one must ask why? Two petition drives have successfully placed city officials' action on public review - the snow gate controversy and the Spellerberg Pool plan. Now we are seeing organized petition drives on the newly adopted ordinances regarding  the Shape Places zoning ordinance overhaul and the agriculture within city limits ordinance.

I submit to you that these multiple petition drive efforts are symptomatic of a citizenry who does not have confidence in their elected officials. It is no easy feat to gather thousands of signatures. People are eager to sign a petition when they don't trust their government to be acting in the best interest of their constituents.

Yes, the mayor and city councilors were elected to make decisions on our behalf. But when elected officials appear arrogant, all knowing, and seem to want to minimize public input, you get distrust and a wholesale questioning on major policy decisions affecting the city as a whole.

When citizens start thinking their elected officials aren't looking out for the best interests of the working public, you get petition drives. Snow gates, indoor pools, railroad switching lines clogging neighborhoods and traffic patterns, a Walmart on four corners of the city, development plans, spending issues, sweeping ordinance changes, the list goes on.

 Take note Mayor and City Council.  There appears to be a growing discontent among your citizenry.