My Turn: Make a difference – attend meetings and make your voice heard
June 16, 2011
TRUCKEE, Calif. – Truckee is a dynamic place to live. One of the many reasons we call this beautiful place our home is because of the love and commitment for our community that we share. Just count how many boards, councils, committees and public interest groups there are regarding the many issues on the table, and the list is endless of involved citizens. We as residents of Truckee want to help in the direction process about the choices made and the direction of how our community will continue to grow, prosper and remain a wonderful tourist destination.
I attend as many meetings throughout the town as possible, but the meetings I attend on a regular basis are the Truckee Town Council meetings. These, in my opinion are the “heart beat” meetings of our community. If you’ve never attended one, I invite you to join me. They take place on the first and third Thursday of each month. You can get information on all town events by going to; http://www.townoftruckee.com
Now to the heart of why I’m writing. The council meetings are all run in the same format. At the start, the room is usually half or so full unless there is a hot topic being discussed, then the room is jammed. The meeting begins with the public being invited to make any comment about anything they like. Then presentations or recognitions are made.
When that is finished, some people leave, and I wish they wouldn’t. Then the agenda starts. The consent calendar is reviewed and any individual item can be “pulled” for discussion. Please be aware, on all items discussed by the council, public comment can also be heard. What follows in the agenda is discussion of individual items for the council to make decisions on. What is again disturbing to me is that after discussions of individual items, more people leave. Don’t get me wrong, some meetings go on and on and way into the night, but each and every decision made by the council affects someone. After more of the agenda is discussed, more people leave and by the time the last couple agendized items are discussed, I’m the last person in the audience. This is very typical and troubling.
Each person can make a difference by attending the council meetings and voicing their views. The council does listen to comments made, they see the expressions on the faces of people in the audience, and I believe it can and does make a difference. Many times I have no intention of speaking during public comment on a particular topic, but do. The questions or comments I make are then addressed and I do feel I make a difference. I listen to some people on the street complaining about the council or the town staff about some of the decisions they make. I always tell people, “If you don’t attend meetings, don’t complain.” Some of the biggest complainers in Truckee never or hardly ever attend meetings and therefore don’t know the facts.
The Contractors Association (CATT) has a saying on its office wall: “Those who attend the meetings make the decisions.” This is so true. I believe that it only took one bone head to get bad ideas started, and it will only take “you” to change that.
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So again, I invite you to join me at Town Council and be heard.
Jamie Brimer is a Truckee resident.