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A tree hugger, a redneck and a feminist go into a meeting . . .
Here’s an idea: Let’s pick a group of people who have very little in common — different moral standpoints, different ideas, different ways of speaking. Let’s put them in charge of important stuff like safety, drinking water, the economy, housing and community planning. And, let’s make them do this for three years. Also, let’s pay them so little that they have other reasons for doing this job, like personal interests or generalized nuttiness. That would be awesome!
Does it scare you a little bit? Wouldn’t it be more efficient if we had a panel of suited-up professionals who could quickly agree on priorities and systematically get things done in an orderly fashion? Or, if that sounds too uptight and right-wing, maybe we could get a benevolent dictator. Who doesn’t love Castro?
What is the point of a council who can barely ever agree on anything? Our job is to serve the interests of the entire community. In addition to having open communication with the people, the hope is that by having seven elected officials, there is enough diversity to represent everyone in the community. Also, our job is to “self-police,” meaning that we are required to hold each other and ourselves accountable, such as in the case of conflicts of interest. It isn’t comfortable to have to address these kinds of issues, but it is preferable to disagree than to be part of a single-minded foray into territory that doesn’t serve the community.
During debate we are required to consider the ideas of everyone who speaks. It is important that a spectrum of opinions and values are represented in order to achieve balanced decision-making.
Next month: What does this mean: “We are not here to please people, we are here to serve the community.”?