Wishing more people would get involved in the discussion
If we had one early holiday wish for the City of East Providence if would be for more of its citizenry to become involved in public and political life. It would certainly vary and broaden the range of opinion available on important issues facing our residents and business owners.
All too often in the recent past, especially, the same group of voices has been doing much of the talking for the city. And while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can and has become a bit stale.
This is not to say that their views don’t hold merit. In some instances they certainly do. But when a small group is speaking for the whole, it doesn’t always have the interest of the greater good completely in mind.
The lack of participation in the process is conspicuous when it comes to the Budget Commission. The state-appointed overseers will have been in charge of East Providence for one calendar year this time next week.
Much of what the Commission has done was needed. However, on other issues, specifically those pertaining to personnel, it has and continues to falter.
In the Commission’s slight defense, though, what they’ve done has been an open book. There have been few, if any, secrets kept from the public. On the contrary, the members have pretty much done exactly what they’ve said they would.
The only and obvious problem with the Commission’s forthrightness is the lack of input from the people.
Plenty have complained about its heavy-handedness, its purported taxation without representation, its unchecked authority.
Those rebuttals to the Commission’s efforts, however, don’t always compute because they’re often uttered by the same, albeit well-meaning, people.
The Commission has shown a willingness to listen and work with those in opposition to its proposals, but few have actually taken the time to compose credible, compelling counter offers.
It’s easy to throw haymakers from outside the ring. It’s much more difficult to join the conversation.
If more folks in East Providence decided to do so, then maybe, just maybe, things might improve to everyone’s liking not only in the near term, but also in the foreseeable future.