Tom Holmes asks intriguing questions.

For two consecutive weeks, Tom poked around the essential, perennial, and perhaps existential question: why don’t folks get more involved in our community? Tom focused on declining service club and church membership but the issue includes all non-profit organizations.

Tom’s second piece attempts to deal with the issue on a macro level and wonders what has become of our sense of civic responsibility and belief in the common good.

Hmm. It appears we are trading them in for Freedom! As we have now fallen to demonizing our teachers and police officers, we might want to reconsider what Freedom! means. We could also consider teaching civics to our students, if we actually value citizenship.

On the micro level, our community has a Comprehensive Plan to craft (or so I’ve heard), so let’s hope the common good is still a viable option here. The details might get tedious and technical but the core element must, by nature, be lofty ideas to create a healthy commonweal. Right?

Thought exercise: if you had a bit more time/energy/money, what organization or initiative would you put your resources toward?

Citizens United in Forest Park (CUinFP) has become Vox60130!

The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Citizens United triggered the name change. Along with this change, Vox took the opportunity to re-evaluate its mission: specifically, would the organization stay a civic welfare group and/or develop a political arm? The board (of which I am a member, and will act as spokesperson for these few paragraphs) decided to maintain its original mission to focus on issues, not electoral candidates, and therefore stay non-political.

Over Vox’s nine year history, various members and community institutions have lobbied the group to organize a ‘slate’ of candidates for local elections, or at least endorse certain candidates. That type of political organizing has never been (formally) tried in our fair village, and to be done properly, would take enormous resources which, frankly, this board doesn’t want to expend. This board believes presenting in-depth exploration of issues that voters care about is a need well filled.

Of course, if any of y’all feel strongly and differently, and want to volunteer your energies to create a Vox political arm, please become a Vox member and present your proposal to the group. Seriously, it would be a fascinating special meeting.

The Commish Form of Government Sucks.

I was recently involved in a ‘disagreement’ with, oh, someone of local importance, and one aspect of it is still nagging. No, I can’t tell you the specifics or they’ll have to kill me.

Besides the archaic ridiculousness of The Commish Form in general, Our Commish Form does not operate as advertised. At all.

Exibit A: “You can be involved as much or as little as you want.” What job or responsibility have you ever taken (or heard of) that comes with that modifier? Besides duping the voters, our structural charade also dupes the candidates and the unlucky electeds.

If one chooses a life of hackery, one’s ‘work’ is much simpler, but if one chooses to take one’s elected responsibilities seriously, Our Commish Form (can) make you neurotic, a busy-body, scattered, wrong-footed, flat-footed, persistently frustrated, terminally angry, not to mention, ineffective and remiss in your commissioned duties, not that you know what those are.

Indeed, being a village elected in Forest Park can make you ill as the pathogen is embedded in our duplicitous system. I should mention, invested citizens have been sickened by this illness, too, as it’s contagious if you get too close.

This town needs a thorough exploration of both ‘The’ and ‘Our’ Commish Form of Government, well before the 2015 village elections. Voters deserve to know what powers they are assigning to which candidates, and the candidates should want to know this, too.

Vox60130 – please, put this on the agenda. Thank you, Tom Holmes, for prodding us toward our civic duties.


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