Be the change in your local government.
The majority of us have a difficult time focusing on what is happening on the national political scene, much less what is happening on our state level. And, what is happening at our local (city/town) level gets the least amount of our scrutiny.
Yet, it is on the local level where we can exert the most amount of influence in terms of elections and accountability by our city/town officeholders.
Most city or town residents will cast votes for their mayor or town manager with little information beyond campaign rhetoric or having seen the local landscape overrun with “Vote For Me” signs. City or town council elected officials are voted for knowing even less than your municipality’s top leadership. Worst of all is what you know about those running for your district’s school committee.
Did you know that approximately one-half (50%) of your city/town’s total revenue (derived from individual and business taxes, fees, sales taxes, etc.) is consumed by your school department? On top of this, the state could kick in another 25% of your school district’s budget.
What is your city/town’s graduation rate or what is the dropout rate? How many graduates continue their education by going to college or a trade school? Is your school department top-heavy with administrative salaries? What are the conditions within your schools?
With schools representing approximately 50₵ for every $1 in revenue collected, can you see the importance of knowing the background of each candidate running to be elected to your school committee? Further, if you are able, can you see the importance of attending a school committee meeting and being a part of the decision-making as to how well your children (or grandchildren) are being educated?
The above example of a typical school department represents the largest single expenditure in your city/town’s budget. By your probing into your local municipality’s leadership and governing council, not only will you find answers as to how the other half of revenue collected is being spent but also issues which affect you:
- If there is a population decline in your city/town, ask what is causing this and, more importantly, what is being done to reverse this trend. (less population = less tax revenue)
- Is our city/town a sanctuary city/town? If not, why not?
- What is being done to make our city/town more environmentally friendly?
- Will our area ever have sewers? If not, why not?
There are many areas which should be of concern to you and your Hive. Develop specific action plans: phone calls, email, visits to their meetings or offices, etc.