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Local Government Apathy - Alarming Statistics - Articles Surfing

At every level of government and politics, an informed electorate is needed to understand the candidates and issues of their community. That sounds pretty basic doesn't it? Citizens cannot make informed decisions before they vote for candidates if they do not know the individuals running for office. Nor, can they make informed judgments on issues, if they are not knowledgeable on the points of discussion and disagreement.

With that in mind, a very disturbing news article has been published by USA Today. In that article they report that 'local TV stations have nearly given up covering local political races and issues.' It further stated that 'just 8% of the local evening newscasts in 11 of the nation's largest TV markets devoted time to local races and issues.'

The report which this information comes from was prepared by researchers at the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

When we factor into the equation of voter apathy 'most people - about 60% - get more of their news from local TV than from any other single source' it is no wonder why we find ourselves in the predicament we are in. Local government voter apathy, running rampant across the country.

We also can add into the equation of voter apathy, that in small town, USA there is no local TV coverage whatsoever, because there is no local TV stations.

Granted, many issues that local government deal with seem boring.

Who cares about storm water runoff? Until it is your property is that inundated with water because of poor planning or design.

Who cares about the condition of the Fire Department equipment? Until the high cost of replacing that equipment, prohibits the Fire Department from adequately protecting your property.

Who cares if because of budget constraints, the routine maintenance of streets is delayed a year? Until because of that neglect, it is your vehicle that sustains damage attempting to utilize that street.

If you talk with almost any local government official, they all recognize and complain that a lack of communication with the public is a problem. Yet, nobody has an answer to it. Public Notices are printed in newspapers and nobody reads them. Public Information Meetings are held on issues of importance and nobody attends. Crazy ideas are proposed and nobody takes them seriously, until after they are implemented.

This communication problem has no easy solution. It cannot be solved overnight. It will take baby steps by all concerned to begin to solve the problem. It will take a concerted effort by elected officials, the media and citizens to fight this local government apathy.

The 'baby step' which citizens can take, is to start attending meetings. Just one meeting to start. Take two hours out of your busy schedule to show your interest and concern. Fight the urge to throw up your hands in despair and claim there is nothing you can do.

If citizens started to show a little interest in what is happening in their neighborhood and city, maybe, just maybe, the local media will notice. After they notice, they may decide to start reporting. If they report, maybe more interest will be generated.

Or, maybe not.

But, it might be worth a try?

Copyright 2006 Al Arnold

Submitted by:

Al Arnold

Al Arnold fights Local Political Apathy at http://WWW.LocalPolitics101.US . Join the movement to attend one meeting a year. Sign up for monthly ezine update on progress of the movement for citizens to attend one local government meeting a year.He is also the author of Moving Mountains and Molehills Local Politics 101, a book that explains how to be effective in local politics.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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