The other day a friend came to may office and wanted to know what I knew about a couple of elected officials who had benefitted( or thought to have benefitted) by a couple of decisions they had made.
I suggested that believing everything one hears in our Valley, would not be good for any ones health. After this person had left, I contemplated what he had said and how his thoughts seem to be the thoughts of so many currently.
I came to the conclusion, that our elected leaders, no matter how good we think they are or how honest has brought this problem upon themselves.
Let me share with you some things that I know from observation and investigation.
Some of the finest people I know, occupy some of the elected positions within our valley. They are bright, smart and I doubt seriously if they would ever cross the line in their service to this community. They seek to do right and actually come prepared to do the peoples business. But there seems to be a trend among a few, to hide and pontificate on the issues, rather than express how things really are.
When people see, that getting to the point of the issue may take hours rather than simple minutes. And that questions can actually be answered in yes and no terms, rather that in the tone we find in Washington, which is, “before I can answer that question, let me say this”. When citizens hear this, they know two things. The first, this person has no idea what the answer is, but instead of saying so, would rather lead you down some path in an effort to make you believe they have a clue about what they are talking about. And the second thing, this leader has something to hide. Perhaps it is not serious, but they have said or done something, that on second thought, was not right and proper, but they do not want you to know.
In our community we have some very serious problems of transparency, serious understanding of the issues both for now and for the future, and the problem of smallness, which has nothing to do with height, but with mind set. It goes like this; “if I tell you what I really know on the subject, I am some how diminished”.
Time and time again we see it from some of our elected and appointed leaders.
The classic was with our recent School construction. I was accused by people in the education community of being against children, against education and against teachers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But the reason for these accusation were because questions were being asked of those who should know, but did not. In some cases actually lied to cover not knowing. The questions that were asked at the time of Bond vote, were simple with no other thought in mind but the facts. Just the facts. It would have given citizens information and a complete understanding of the issues. But they would not, and because of their approach, the High School will never be clean when it comes to discussion for those remembering the history. We see it even to this day. Citizens who are now being asked to pay the bills, are skeptical of what went on and no amount of words or other public relation work is going to change it. A little truth, transparency and less pretty pictures and misleading statements and the out come would have been far better for the district. Even to this day, there is a certain amount of distrust on the part of Citizens related to this issue. There is a divide between citizens and those in the teaching profession. But it did not have to be that way.
Today, we see it again in what the County, Heber City, Midway and to some degree some of the special service districts are doing. Things are happening, decisions are being made and money spent. And instead of making the citizens part of the partnership (they say they are, but that’s because they are using your money), they skirt issues, give the bare minimum of information and in many ways avoid the very transparency that is necessary to stop or at the very least reduce the amount of distrust between government and her citizens.
The great fear is, that someday, somewhere, citizens are going to do more than sit home and wring their hands over the issues. It could get mean and ugly. It has in the past and history tells us, the citizens will take just so much before they turn on the masters. And when this happens, there would not be enough people left who support law, to put a stop to the carnage.
It has been said, when we do not teach, understand and know our previous history, we are doomed to repeat it.
What if we had a tea party right here in this valley. Not one related to our federal government, but one on local government. In my minds eye, it is not a pretty sight and no one in their right mind would want it to happen, but unless some of our leaders wise up and do better, who knows?