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One voice, one vote can make a difference

There’s a serious disorder affecting our country, state and city. Its name is frustration. Folks are paralyzed by it and believe they are powerless to fix anything. People are looking for a quick fix to serious issues and latch on to those who advocate punching the “enemy” in the face, eliminating troublemakers, keeping women “in their place,” blaming the poor for budget deficits and assuring the wealthy they are that way because they deserve to be. An old-fashioned American slug with a very big stick will most certainly do the trick or perhaps just decimate populations we don’t like with bombs. Problem solved.

If those solutions soothe your sense of frustration, why is that awful feeling still hanging over millions? Why do so many feel powerless? Why are hope and the “American Dream” unavailable to so many?

Folks seem to want answers regardless of consequences. They want what they want and that’s it. This or that candidate/politician sounds like what I want to hear, so let’s go with it. I don’t have time to take any responsibility, so let the quick-fix proposer go to work. Besides, no matter who is running the government, they’re going to do what they want anyway. “The government” doesn’t listen to me so why should I get involved?

Looking at Boulder City, one gets the impression that the majority of voters are just fine with the way things are going. While I’ve seen citizens object to the handling of some city issues, I’m not seeing the Council Chambers packed with folks voicing their opinion.

In a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial titled “It’s only tax money,” the writers discussed Boulder City residents being “on the hook for more than $108,000” in the case of James Petrie losing his position in the city’s utility department when $50,000 was missing from “city bank accounts.” I haven’t heard any complaints from citizens regarding being “on the hook for more than $108,000.” Have you?

Then there is the fact that employee salaries are no longer published for individual jobs in the annual budget as they used to be prior to 2011. I suppose citizens are pleased with less transparency instituted with the newest computer programs instituted by the outgoing city finance director.

Then we have this, according to a July 14 story in the Boulder City Review: “Since 2011, annual financial reports posted to the city’s website show auditors identified deficiencies in the utility department’s accounting every year since the fiscal year that ended June 2011.” Anyone upset?

I know everyone doesn’t read the Boulder City Review or the Las Vegas Review-Journal, so one can say hundreds, perhaps thousands of Boulder City residents didn’t know about these few issues or maybe they were on vacation; but what about those who did read about these issues?

Residents call or send me emails on a fairly regular basis regarding many city issues. They are frustrated. They feel powerless. My first suggestion to these folks is to call or write to the council members and the city manager and go to council meetings. They are still frustrated because they believe they are only one voice, and it won’t matter. I tell them that together we are powerful and can change things. They don’t really believe me, but they humor me and say I’m correct.

So there you have it: a vicious circle, a catch-22, a conundrum, a problem, a challenge. What do you do?

Perhaps we need to open our mouth and take responsibility. Everyone needs to register to vote and vote in every election. No excuses. Talk to council members and the city manager. That’s what they are there for, correct? Read as much as possible about candidates and sitting politicians. Don’t take campaign literature and press releases as truth. Dig a little. Meet as many candidates and politicians as possible. Look them in the eye. See what they are made of. You put candidates in office and you can take them out. If you don’t like the system or the political party, say so and change it.

The quick fix is empty words. You want answers, you open your mouth and take responsibility.

Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at roseannrab@hotmail.com or at 702-339-9082.

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