Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
Valdosta Daily Times on public participation in government:
Unless there is some hot button or a zoning issue on the table, the number of people attending city council and county commission meetings is, to stay the least, underwhelming.
It seems like people want to complain about what government does or does not do, but they do not regularly attend meetings and do not sign up for public commenting at those meetings. What local government does is your business.
We encourage our readers to attend public meetings. The state of Georgia requires that the public’s business be done in public. That business, however, is not really being deliberated in public, if the public does not show up at meetings.
Every government meeting, except for limited executive sessions, must be held out in the open. Too many times, reporters show up to cover city council, county commission, planning commission, board of education, tourism authority, development authority and hospital authority meetings only to look around and see few residents in attendance.
There are a core group of people who do attend public meetings and they are to be commended for their role in helping to hold local government accountable, but they should not be alone.
Government, at all levels, belongs to the governed and not the governing. We are to be self-governed. It is a principle that has defined America since its inception.
Theodore Roosevelt was credited with saying, “The government is us; we are the government, you and I.”
We elected the men and women in office to represent our interests, not to think for us and not to just take care of everything for us.
The general public should be more involved in government, especially at the local level where the actions of