Over at the MassLive Northampton Forum, there is a lively discussion taking place regarding the blog post below, as well as the post at Northampton Redoubt.
People have added some great opinions and observations about the matter, and the focus on it. Some have noted what they consider to be more pressing concerns in community affairs, and that the debate surrounding 'best practices' might be just an unproductive distraction taking place. I can't say that I disagree. I would like to reprint the more engaging posts from MassLive here, in order of appearance. It started with 'novio' noting the post below that I wrote yesterday.
dustyattic was the first to reply to that,
the little 'best practices' committee is stupid anyway...and of course city councilors talk outside of meetings...is there anyone in the entire world who believes that all of the business of the city happens only in council chambers? grow up...there is no "crime" here...To which nosilentcal said,
I agree, Dusty Attic. There seems to be a small group of LOUD people who are not clear on the concept of Representative Democracy. No, Virginia, we will not ask your opinions - all 29,000 of them before we make every single decision you have empowered us to make by voting for us. It reminds me of 'negotiating' with my children sometimes. Just because I don't agree with your position, doesn't mean I haven't heard you or taken your opinion into account.florencechic weighs in:
This is not Town Meeting and we don't operate by consensus.
So much time, energy, and ink has been lost to the ages over this, and more is yet to come, when the truth is that Northampton's government is more accessible, open and transparent than at least 98% of any other governments anywhere else in the world, and having the internet at our disposal will help bear that out!
I may not always think the local gov't is making all the best decisions. I may disagree about how much is spent on this and that. I may call my Councilors and School Committee members and tell them so myself, but just because they don't come around to my point of view, I don't think they are corrupt.
To paraphrase ole Charlie Dickens: "Are there no poor to assist? No elderly homeowners' sidewalks to shovel?" Are there no more important issues that our Councilors should be spending their time on other than this Best Practices Ad-Hoc Non Binding research and report committee?
if we can get 20-30 together (which is more support than this had, i think), can we suggest that our councilors think about ways to keep our city services in light of all the crap coming down from the state (see this morning's paper)...or figure out a way that ALL of our kids are passing MCAS?...or find homes for the homeless, food for the hungry, fuel assistance for the shivering? So many more important issues facing people in this city...No offense, Northamptonist -- I respect your opinion, but in this case I heartily disagree. This is making us a laughingstock, and rightly so.FluffyOne:
I hope not. I think the problem is the fact (?) that out-of-towners perceive us as the very happy, freaky town where life is good and everything (including government) is good. If they lived here they'd know it's not perfect and not all good and that we could, in fact, use a good bit of improvement. Yes?florencechic:
I'd love to see smaller class sizes, better-paid teachers, police, and firefighters, fewer homeless, fewer people living in poverty, better living conditions at Meadowbrook, more frequent public transportation, bike paths expanded even more, more high-paying jobs...there's lots we can do to make this an even better place. This committee is taking time and attention from these important matters, in my opinion.Points well taken. 20-30 people? We have five right here. And five is always better than one when you agitate. Remember Voltron?
Labels: best practices, community building, could we should we would we, public policy,