I read with interest the April 13, article in the Observer about the closing of the Twin Lakes Dam by the City. It would seem that some of the residents in the surrounding area had questions about the closing of the road. Questions were apparently raised about why the City was able to take this action without asking citizens for their input.
The answer is complex, and goes far beyond this one occurrence, and the problem the good people of this neighborhood now face. Opelika is not the only place where decisions are made without consulting the people involved. Governments from Federal down to the local level do business without citizen input, because they can. Citizens rarely attend any of the Council or Commission meetings, even though it is their right to do so. Many people don’t even know who their elected Representative is, and many of the ones that do know are apparently happy with them for the most part, as evidenced by the lack of election challengers to the people who currently hold office in Opelika.
I believe it is the lack of interest in the business of government that drives the process in the direction it takes. The average citizen rarely, if ever takes the time to attend Council and Commission meetings, or be involved in any way with their government. The people in power know this, and govern accordingly.
Is it any wonder that the people we elect strive to be re-elected over and over? Most anybody would be satisfied to have a job where they had control of the company’s money, the boss seldom came around, and accountability was rarely required. Nice work if you can get it.
Remember the recent sales tax increase? Did you agree with it? If so, that’s fine. If not, why didn’t you call to express your opinion, or go to the council meetings?
So, to the people of the neighborhoods around Twin Lakes Dam, I say keep up the good work. Demand accountability, on this issue and the rest of the issues that affect us all. To the citizens of Opelika, Auburn, and Lee County, I issue this challenge. Get involved. Call when you have concerns, and attend the public meetings. Why not consider running for office? You can’t change the outcome of the game if you sit on the sidelines.
Talitha Eastridge Norris