Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's All Local

Tonight I'll be heading down to the sleepy firehouse community room at Engine 16 for our monthly neighborhood management meeting, where we'll address the current issues facing our little community by the sea and the city in general. The city budget will likely be on the agenda in some form, and it is my hope to attend the final vote on the mayor's budget proposal next week. I hope to see it fail. There are better solutions than to raise our already obscenely high property taxes. And I resent the administration's push to scare the parents and children of New Haven Public Schools with the threat of cuts in education if the mayor's budget proposal is not approved as is.

So this little post is to remind everyone that you have a voice. If you don't like what you see happening in your local--or national--government, step up and say something. One voice, no matter how small, cannot be ignored en masse. You'll likely find that many other share your viewpoint. And our country was founded on this notion that we can agree to disagree in public forums. Unfortunately, that means the likes of Sarah Palin will get equal, or even disproportionate, airtime in our current media. Ah, the media. A topic for another day.

As I gear up for the meetings that lay ahead, I'm proud of whatever small role I've had thus far in our city, from having face time with the mayor in protest of the NHPS annual registration debacle, or showing up at environmental presentations and budget hearings to display posters in opposition to the mayor's proposals. The next few months I will enjoy a more open schedule as our school-year committments die down. I'll be able to make it to more management meetings. I'll be able to put my energy into making New Haven just a little bit better of a city in which to live.

I know some people don't understand it, but I love New Haven. I don't want to leave it. But I can't stay here passively. Democracy is not a spectator sport. And as I walk a little further down the road of local politics, I'm making more friends and happily educating my children in the importance of the First Amendment. "I can't afford to love New Haven!!," Sean read aloud from the poster on our front door and on my car's rear window. "No tax increase!!!"

He looked at me. "Why does the mayor want us to pay more money to live here?"

"Because it takes money to run the city and its parks and all the other stuff the city offers, and he gets most of that money from people who live here."

"Why not just charge us less money and have less stuff in the city?"

Sean gets it. He's in second grade.


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