January 10, 2012
Monday night's commission meeting was a sight to behold.
The commission chambers -- which are normally more quiet than a Monday morning church on commission nights -- was packed to the gills with people looking to take in history as Dorothy Hubbard took the oath of office for mayor and loved ones accepted appointments to public offices.
And while the atmosphere was celebratory in most respects, a friend's comment to me really took hold: "I wish we had this kind of turnout and participation at every meeting."
That sentiment underscores what many people in positions of power in the city feel, at least as they have been conveyed to me.
Local government isn't a spectator sport. It requires action and reaction from the public. It requires people to pay attention; to be proactive rather than reactive to ensure that the city and county move forward.
Dorothy Hubbard, Jon Howard, Ivey Hines, Christopher Pike, James Taylor, Nathan Davis, Roger Marietta, Bob Langstaff and Tommie Postell aren't going to be able to do it alone. You can't run a city government without the "city" being involved.
I understand that with the fast-paced lives many of us live today that its hard to carve out time on a weeknight after a long day at work to head downtown and attend the meetings. It's hard, when you're balancing a work life with the needs of a spouse and children or your other obligations at home.
But there are other ways to stay informed and get involved.
The city and county governments both publish the minutes and agendas from the meetings online. They give a glimpse of what was discussed and voted on during the meetings. There are various community boards and groups that get involved on a volunteer basis that would allow you to keep in the know and, while we aren't perfect, I work hard to try and keep the public informed of what is going on downtown at the government center and often publish the documents being discussed here at Albanyherald.com.
So, to borrow a line from a person who has been a big influence in my life, in 2012 make your resolution to "own" your city. Get active, get engaged and get involved.