By year’s end, we’ll have had three major elections. Tomorrow, however, may prove to be the real tipping point in our community. A number of citizens have expressed an intent to take a stand in support of their positions on two issues – the school transportation cuts and the future of Clark Park.
For weeks, council has been inundated with emails and I’d like to thank you all for voicing your concerns and take a moment to offer a few words of encouragement going into tomorrow night’s meetings.
First, I encourage as many of you as possible to attend tomorrow’s meetings and to fully engage in the process moving forward. In the past, the percentage of people who actually show up to council meetings is less than 5% of those who express support or opposition of a contentious issue on Facebook or via email. The percentage is even lower for those who stick it out beyond an initial meeting or two. Such a low turnout emboldens the opposition and weakens the voice of the people expressed on social media.
Second, people should be prepared to stand up and speak to council and the BOE in order to demonstrate both initiative and commitment from the very beginning. I know how difficult this is for most people but for every single person who overcomes their fear of public speaking, countless others are encouraged to do the same. When this happens, the tides shift. I’ve seen it happen and fully believe that it can and will happen again.
For those who feel that it doesn’t make a difference; that somehow our minds and votes are predetermined, hear this: You really aren’t speaking to just council, you are speaking to one another. You are speaking to YOUR city. Remember, this is YOUR government and your government is YOU, the people. You strengthen one another and your cause as your audience takes notice and joins in.
Thank you all for taking an interest in these and other issues. I’ll do what I can to ensure that your voices are heard, but ultimately, as with any decision, it will come down to 4 votes (or 3 in the case of the BOE). Your participation, strength of message and unwavering commitment will be more critical to influencing those votes than what one or two individual elected members can ever say or do.
Our future will not be determined by an election or a vote by council or the BOE. Our future will be determined by the people who take a real stand for what they believe in.