Thursday, April 05, 2007

Voter Perceptions

I often read The Berkley Blog. A gentleman named James D. Berkley, Director of Presbyterian Action, writes it. He is a very clear thinker and it is a joy to read his comments, which I consider to be case studies. Tonight I visited his blog and found this entry, Outside money buys Presbyterian constitutional change, including ten very illuminating comments between Mr. Berkley and two of his readers.

The comments deal with the procedures of the Presbytery in calling emergency sessions and covers the gamut of by-laws, as well as the perceptions that people and voters in the Presbytery have, oftentimes erroneously. I certainly wish I could craft my words as well as James D. Berkley in trying to offer a description, but the point is that I want to encourage people to read his blog entry, including all (currently) ten comments.

We have three new Council members joining the City Council. The first regular meeting on the schedule is April 9. Leading up to the election there was a general consensus among many voters, right or wrong, that the Council was not engaging the community by offering adequate communication opportunities. They were meeting at luncheons (called 'public') in the middle of the day when many people were working, emailing one another privately and seemingly attending regular meetings with their minds made up before they even entered the room. This perception is, in part, credited for the election of three new Council members.

I believe Berkley offers some valuable insight, while he is discussing the Presbytery and our community's voters were discussing City Council, the brunt of the discussion could be applied to much of our community's recent discussion. I think we could and should at least consider his arguments. Food for thought, so to speak.

The agenda for the next meeting and guidelines for becoming involved in City Council meetings can be accessed here. Consider attending a local City Council meeting.

To further pique your interest in following the link to Berkley's blog, here's a short excerpt:

"This is the most serious, because what you are implying is this: Some sly group of your opponents (who happen to be in power in the presbytery and able to make meeting decisions) got together and devised a plan to thwart a fair consideration of certain resolutions that they wanted to receive presbytery approval. So they plotted together among themselves on the sly to get their allies all informed and organized and then spring a meeting date at the last minute, hoping to do two things: a) keep opponents from being prepared and b) keep opponents from even being able to attend. All of this was done by certain evil others to gain unfair advantage over you and people who think like you."

As Tony Messenger, , wrote here:

"Whether it's accurate or not, this council had the perception of doing its work outside the glare of the public eye. In voters' minds, perception is reality."

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