Considering ways to keep electorate informed

By Edi Birsan on March 19, 2018

For the last nine years, I have been producing the survey site www.PulseofConcord.com, where I ask or echo questions on issues or topics of local interest.

They include things like: Should we ban roosters? Do you know someone who is unemployed? Should we have retail cannabis sales? Who are you supporting for president?

With the recent formation of City Council districts, I thought that elected officials might produce district newsletters and I proposed regular information columns on my Facebook page. This led to a basic question: What do you want to know about local government or your elected officials?

In a district newsletter, I would answer the following questions:

  • What are the city projects in the district?
  • What city projects affect the district?
  • What is going on in the district?
  • What is going on in the city as a whole?
  • What are local complaints or concerns?
  • Whom can residents contact?

I also thought it would be interesting to write about this or that local hero, regular folk, or a favorite local dog or (bite my tongue) cat story as a way to introduce people to each other in the district.

Elected officials have to be open to all views and weigh everything, but at the same time we have to stand for some things. Do you want an informational newsletter only, or do you want hard-core issues presented but not discussed?

The city does not pay for newsletters, postage or anything related to them. A mailed newsletter could cost $3,000 for a district with 6,000 households and maybe 15,000 voters. Do you want another email? Will you read it? And what do you really want in it?

We have to be aware that there is division between the wanting to know, the need to know and the right to know when it comes to individuals such as elected officials, as opposed to more apparent things like where your money is going or when is that canyon disguised as a pothole going to be fixed? You have every right to know where your taxes are going, but you have no right to know the ethnic or religious background of the person who is spending the money.

So what do you want to know? Tell me at EdiBirsan@gmail.com.

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