Want change? Put your name on a list

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By Donald Richie

More and more, Im approached on the street by people who want to enact changes in the community but feel powerless to do it.

Maybe powerless is too harsh. Maybe the task just seems too daunting.

I get that. When Im asked what needs to be done, dozens of things flood my brain.

That causes me to feel overwhelmed, like moving forward at this point is impossible.

I dont believe that, but sometimes it feels that way.

And thats where we are as a community as the end of winter approaches.

We have an almost perpetual case of seasonal affective disorder.

Without a doubt, what needs to change most is the status quo, because thats obviously not working.

Im not talking about the government, at least not entirely. Im talking about the attitude of the public.

Everyone says they want the area to grow and change for the better. However, what Im not seeing is action to that effect. The general consensus is someone else can do it, Im too busy.

Well, so am I. So is everybody. Imagine how your house gets after a week or so of sunrise to sunset running. Dishes pile up, laundry doesnt get washed, dust covers everything... the list goes on.

That, in part, is what is happening in Harrison County. We run from the time we wake up until its time for bed. By the time our days are finished, theres little time or energy for anything extra - like community involvement.

Thats not to say there arent people who are involved, there are plenty.

The problem is, most of the same people simply make the rounds in the various boards and committees. They are stretched too thin and that can lead to a drought of fresh ideas.

Next week, I plan to attend one of the committee meetings of Harrison County Tomorrow. Ive not been to any of the projects meetings yet, but from what Ive seen there is some attempt at breaking the mold.

On the various committee lists, there are some familiar names, but there are plenty of new ones. Im especially glad there are so many young faces trying to make a difference.

As the groups begin to start actively trying to implement their ideas, I will be watching the local powers to see how they are received. Open minds will be needed for those who sit in government and on the various administrative boards.

Many of the ideas coming out of these groups will take a little imagination to see the benefits.

Thats a good thing, as long as the people who make the decisions and approve the money have imaginations.

The plus to this is if the program gains any ground, maybe our rank and file citizens will begin to realize it truly is up to the people to make the changes.

Government is only good at sustaining government. In the last 15 months, neither local body has had any discussion on merging, as was alluded in the 2006 campaigns.

Why? Self-preservation.

The only way the topic will be addressed is by overwhelming public mandate.

The government cant make decisions by mind reading. Issues like liquor by the drink or expanded gambling are often decided by a very vocal minority. Thats not to say the decisions made are the wrong ones, but they often go against the true public opinion.

While unscientific, our polls at www.cynthianademocrat.com, are fun to track. Last week, 44 people out of 64 said placing any exemption on the county net profits tax was unfair to other businesses.

On Tuesday, the fiscal court did exactly that. Well, they called it a test or a threshold, but its really another loophole.

Why did this go through? Because the only people who came to speak on the issue were landlords.

Where were the other businesspeople who are already taxed regardless of their gross income? Where were the average citizens who pay the tax on their gross income and not their net?

I dont know, I just know they werent there.

As Bradley Copes said Tuesday, Income is income, profit is profit.

One group is likely going to get special treatment because nobody spoke to the big picture.

Hopefully, the trend started with Harrison County Tomorrow and its attempt to get more and different people involved, will motivate more people to voice their opinions.

More importantly, maybe those people will volunteer and get involved.

Harrison Countys tomorrow will only come with hands-on work.

Donald Richie can be reached at drichie@cynthianademocrat.com.