If you’ve just landed on this page, and you don’t know what this is all about, you should probably go back to the beginning. This is the sixth post in a nine-part series, and before you read this, you need some context. Start here.
If you’ve just read City Council Survey: The Wrong Conclusions, you’re in the right place. What you’re about to read are what I consider the right conclusions, these are things we should be taking away from the results of our City Council survey.
Are they actually right? I don’t know, that we’ll be a decision of our City Council and all of you as engaged citizens as we move this issue into the public discourse.
We Have to Do Something About This!
If we don’t have faith and trust in the leadership coming from City Council, every initiative undertaken by City staff, the Park District, the School District, and Ward County begins from the bottom of a hole. City Council is the pinnacle leadership board in Minot, and a loss of faith at that level trickles down the food chain. It marginalizes the efforts of all those working to manage and improve Minot.
We Need to Make it Easier to Be an Engaged Citizen
Survey results to questions about knowing who your Alderman are, () and knowing what voting Ward you live in () show clearly that our system of municipal government is complicating things. First, know your Ward. Second, know your two elected Alderman. Now, keep track of those Alderman, and the issues that face the City. It’s too much.
I get it; the system was designed to ensure citizen’s voices are represented on City Council, but I don’t think it’s working anymore. I think our system has the opposite effect; it’s making it too difficult to stay meaningfully engaged.
We Need to Be Able to Choose Our Elected Leaders
If you’re saying to yourself, “but we do, we have elections every two years”, you’re right. We do have elections, we are technically going through the motions. Our system has all the ingredients, and yet, it isn’t working. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point we woke up with a kind of a cargo cult democracy.
We need the opportunity to make choices about who we want to lead us and about the values we want to represent us. ()
For me, this is the clearest indicator of why City Council has a 9% approval rating. () Though we continue to have elections, it’s been some time since we’ve actually had a choice.
If you agree with my conclusions, The Minot Voice has some ideas about solutions. Read them here.