Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Watching Local Government

I was thinking the other day about local political figures and how uninspiring they are and how bored I get reading about their travails. My eyes glaze over when photos of Mike Sanders or Jason Kander appear in the news media or on blogs . Even the machinations of the mayor and city council don't put a grip on my interest; the doings at 12th and Oak often seems unimaginative and boring or frustrating, out of touch and, well, backward and dumb.

The irony here is that it is local members of government that can do things that impact me personally. It wasn't Barack Obama who decided to merge the ambulance service into the fire department or put the majority of the cost for the sewer repair on the backs of water service customers. It's the local yokels who decided to continue giving money to an ineffective crime prevention group or make a curfew for young people (not all the ideas are bad you know.)

I wonder if it is because we see them up close sometimes. We know about their kid with the behavior problem, we see them in the grocery store or McDonald's. They are all too human to us--they don't look like they could think their way out of a soggy paper bag. Yet, they seem also distant, like they are living on another planet. They don't know us, they know other equally powerful and important people. They know the rich and locally famous. They make deals and make money we can only dream of.

It is hard paying good attention to local politics. All politics is local, yet local problems and issues are set in the context of what is happening in the region, state, country or even world. Local politicians are something like the proverbial blind man, feeling the tail of an elephant and pronouncing it a rope. Yet they can pull on the elephant's tail and make things happen that affect the local citizens. So yeah, we need to pay attention to City Hall, even when there are one hundred things that look more interesting.


Bob G. said...

My God, that looks JUST like the L.A. City Hall (that Superman used to "leap in a single-bound" over when I as a kid...!

Oh, I watch OUR local governemnt REAL close (you have to when you live in a recently-neglected part of town)...!

Sometimes, I wish we lived in an even SMALLER least I'd feel that when I'm ignored, I'd at least KNOW the person doing

You gotta watch BOTH of their hands, too...all the time.

God post.

Stay safe out there.

The Observer said...

Bob G:
Kansas City city hall, 12th and Oak Street. One of the tallest buildings in town. Incredible view on a clear day. (KC went through a period where it was awesomely in love with concrete...)

Post was motivated by the latest chatter on who will run/won't run/was in bed with/not etc. etc. on the internets. Not to mention the inability of anyone to concentrate on creating real solutions, not just indulging in symbolism and being distracted by development (makes for nice ground breaking photo ops.)

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend is going well.