Letter: City government works
Lately I've been getting a lot of comments from folks around town. They go like this: "Hey, congratulations on winning your fight with the city about your blacktopping project."
We did get what we wanted, but we had to have a lot of help. I want to offer a couple of thank-yous to those who made it possible. First the Lake County News-Chronicle, for an article that reported that the city was going to proceed with our project because they only had one written dissent and one oral dissent. Without this news story, we would not have realized that our strategy to send a representative to the council to make our case had failed. Over that weekend, we created a petition signed by everyone on the block with one "yes" vote and all the rest "no" votes. This is what changed the hearts and minds at the council. So thanks to the News-Chronicle for your work.
What we learned is that if the council rejected every project where someone objected, nothing would ever get done. They needed to hear from all of us in order to make the difficult decision to cancel our blacktopping project.
This had to be a very hard decision for the council. A lot of work went into prioritizing projects for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), and to pull a project at the last possible moment created a whole set of new problems for the city. What they did took courage, and without the information we provided they had no way to understand the issues. When they saw the whole picture, they did the right thing, not just for us but for the city as a whole. They can now use those funds on more pressing infrastructure problems in town. By withdrawing our project, everybody won — us, the council and the taxpayers.
The lesson we learned is that our city government is listening to us, and if we help them out by having a conversation without rancor, they will do the right thing. They want to do their jobs well, and spend tax money wisely. Sometimes they have no way to understand all the issues if citizens don't bring them the information required to decide rightly. If we as citizens stay involved and help them out, they will listen, and then they will do the right thing for Two Harbors.
So thank you to all the councillors, the mayor and all others involved in this process. Even though it opened a whole new can of worms for you, you chose to do what was right. Isn't that what we want from city government? I think so. You have a hard job, but when you get all the facts, I think you showed us that as a body you are pretty good at your job.
Here in Two Harbors, our government does work for us, if you need any proof, here it is. It wasn't a fight, it was a collaboration.