Letter: Involved citizens vilified
To the editor,
In the article “Open government has become contentious city issue,” city officials talked about how they encourage citizen involvement yet seem to verbally vilify the citizens who do get involved in the process.
As a community activist and former councilman, I have the unique ability to understand both sides. Sometimes the job of governing can be rewarding and positive. Other times it can be frustrating, exhausting and downright nasty. That’s all part of the job description.
Over the years I’ve seen a trend toward city leaders who make excuses why they can’t, like to play the role of victim and then blame others. Maybe a better approach than belittling and vilifying citizens that do get involved would be to take a more positive leadership approach and stop acting like whining victims. When leadership takes the approach as in this article, the public only hears “government speak” for “we’re always right and don’t care what you think.” Situations like this can be defused long before they get to this level of contention if one drops the “government speak” and is genuine and honest.
Last but not least, it was in very bad taste and disrespectful that an official would bring the deceased Charlotte Hargis into this public contention. The attempt to vilify the dead is inappropriate and beneath what citizens expect from their city leaders.