Randle Norris deserves a pat on the back.
I don’t know the man personally, but he’s alright by me. You see, Mr. Norris was the only non-public official to attend Monday’s Quadrant 4 meeting. It was the fourth and final town-hall style meeting slated by Mayor Harold Armstrong this year, and Mr. Norris took the time to attend. If you know him, offer him your thanks and gratitude. People like Mr. Norris are our last lines of defense when it comes to government oversight. They do more than just complain, they actually show up to meetings and make their voices heard. As the photograph on the front page of the Daily Times’ Wednesday edition showed, there aren’t many like Mr. Norris left.
While we’re at it, kudos to Mayor Armstrong. He vowed to hold these meetings and he followed through. It’s not his fault we were too busy watching Monday Night Football or binging a Netflix series to show up. He fulfilled his promise, took time to listen to concerns and was greeted by a handful of politicians and Mr. Norris.
I don’t mean to degrade our council members either by labeling them politicians. I give them credit for making themselves available to listen to what the community has to say (which apparently isn’t much) about issues and areas that need improvement. Glasgow council members Terry Bunnell, Marna Kirkpatrick, James Neal, Marlin Witcher and Chasity Lowery were there Monday night, and other elected officials have attended such meetings in the past.
There were more people who attended some of the previous meetings, but lack of public participation is a pretty common theme these days.
During last month’s final public hearing regarding Barren County land-use, no one showed up outside of planning commission members and staff. It was just a meeting about a comprehensive plan that could affect zoning as well as funding for nice features like pedestrian and cycling paths. Why should we worry about the future though? That would ruin the fun of complaining.
Yours truly cooked two casseroles and two pies for Thanksgiving dinner last week. My family members graciously didn’t gag on the pecan pie, but this amateur cook was ready to remind them that if they didn’t take part in preparing the meal, they should save their complaints for someone else. Same goes with our community. If you don’t take part in the process, don’t complain about the results.
The process includes everything from voting to staying abreast of local happenings by reading the newspaper to attending public meetings involving important issues. When we fail to do these things, we send the message that we don’t care. That’s dangerous.
Luckily for all of us, Mayor Armstrong has showed interest in having more town halls next year. Hopefully if you live in Glasgow, you’ll have an opportunity to attend one. But wherever you live, you should pay attention to what’s going on in your community.
In this community, the only issue that seems to get people fired up enough to take any action is electric rates. Had more people paid attention to what the Glasgow Electric Plant Board was considering four years ago, perhaps we’d find ourselves in a different situation. Now it’s turned personal and I don’t think even Judge Judy could remedy the differences between the sides.
Suddeath is the editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.