One reason for ‘direct democracy’: Politicians
By Rolf GodonNevada County Supervisor Ted Owens, in his recent column (“Direct Democracy: Good, bad or ugly?” Sierra Sun Dec. 23) regarding Direct Democracy, states that the uninformed masses should not be making decisions for the state. Instead, the elected officials, who have the wisdom and best point of view, are best qualified to make these decisions. He cites our governor’s recent attempt to go to these uninformed masses, who he must assume continue to adore him, to slide through some of his pet projects. He went that route because he was unable to get his wishes from the elected officials. And guess what? Even the uninformed masses told him to get lost. So while I agree that there is some truth to the great difficulty we have in understanding the propositions and making informed decisions, there is another side to the story.It is my uninformed perspective that what Owens fails to acknowledge is that our elected officials have a terrible reputation amongst the masses. We, the masses, simply do not trust these people. We see them as being swayed (an understatement) by powerful lobbies, playing power games, and essentially being quite self-serving rather than serving their constituents.The media certainly plays on that and feeds the popular point of view. While I am certain that this perspective is not totally accurate, there is enough truth to it to keep it alive. As a county supervisor, Owens has to be all to aware of the antics that occur in each specific political venue. I have, in the past, witnessed county board of supervisor meetings. I was appalled at the childish antics of some of the members. Anything but rational, objective, well-thought-out dialogue. And, I must add, that in knowing Owens when he was on the Truckee Town Council, I was positively impressed with his directness, professionalism, and willingness to listen. Thus, I hope he is bringing this attitude into his work as a supervisor and having a positive influence with that body.My challenge to him is to put his energy into changing the perception of the masses regarding politicians. The various venues – board of supervisors, senators, representatives – need to be ruthlessly committed to cleaning up their acts. They need to police themselves and rid themselves of members who become involved in any of the behaviors we see all too often.When we begin to see our elected officials as role models of honesty, truth, objective thought and data gatherers than we will not have to resort to “direct democracy” to the degree we have. I believe most of us hate wading through indecipherable propositions and wish our elected officials would do their job so we wouldn’t have to do it for them. The parting message here is that rather than put the blame on others, look in the mirror and get your own house in order. And I mean that in the general political arena and in no way personally. Rolf Godon is a Truckee resident. ‘My Turn’ is a guest column open to readers of the Sierra Sun. Send submissions of 500700 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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