Influence and politics




 

 

One of the most often heard complaints about politics these days is that of influence of one side over another. In the melting pot of ideas, it can be difficult to sort out what is best for every person, without offending a whole bunch more.

There really is no way to avoid influence in politics, really, all we can do is work to have our influence included. Complaining about policies, procedures, the way things are, the way things were, or any other facet of government is useless, if you don’t use your influence in any other way.

One of the easiest ways to do so, I luckily enough, get paid to do, but it is a duty of everyone. Often people avoid it like the plague, but attending your local municipal meetings can make a huge difference in your understanding of how your government, both local, and national, meets the challenge of trying to please a lot of people and not offending the rest.

Recently some letters from a resident have been published in the opinion section of our Grand Blanc newspaper and there is no way any one letter can take into account all the facets of influence that go into a township department, such as the Department of Public Works.

Yes, they take care of roads — because the county cannot – and they feel it is a service to the taxpayers, despite the fact this makes them pay for the roads twice.

This is a matter that could be addressed if enough public influence were made to bear at the county level.

In addition, the DPW takes care of more than 250 miles of water main and 250 miles of sewer mains, pump and lift stations, also performs various building and grounds maintenance, monitors and maintains three township owned cemeteries, helps maintain the Perry House, occasionally completes projects for the Parks Department and maintains a fleet of more than 70 township vehicles and pieces of equipment.

It does all this while having to meet the requirement set down by the county for these services and by law cannot charge above or beyond the cost of these services when billing residents.

The letter writer seems to think that because the county claims they can do it cheaper, this means we should “clean house” and get rid of people who I see month after month, putting the needs of residents first.

People who are experienced and know exactly how various levels of the township work and how to make sure they stay working by making tough budgeting decisions, and creating longterm plans for purchasing and capital improvements.

But none of this is apparent on this resident’s water bill, or from the township board minutes or even the articles I write to try and show how they work for the resident’s behalf. Which is why it is easy to criticize, but hard to understand.

I challenge every resident to attend at least 3-4 meetings a year — just to get a hint of the kind of issues and restrictions our elected officials have to operate under. Do they please us 100 percent of the time? No, and they never will.

I compliment the letter writing resident for coming to the meeting and stating his case. But taking the facts out of context doesn’t make your case right, and complaining without understanding what your representatives are doing, is equally as bad. pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


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