May 26, 2011 by wcobserver
There was no flag-waving, no chest-thumping patriotic speeches, hardly even an announcement as West Fork city government entered a new era. After decades of neglect, the basic and enduring principles of constitutional democracy emerged at the May regular council meeting. Every member of the city council was issued a current and complete tabbed, ring binder copy of the “City of West Fork Ordinances and Community Development Plan.”
As a candidate, Frances Hime had promised to replace the old style of local politics with a city government dedicated to open, responsible and accountable leadership. She promised a town run by the rule of law and a vision of the future that would benefit all its citizens. She offered intelligent, reasoned and just leadership … and the voters put her in office.
This great country was founded as a constitutional democracy where the Rule of Law grounded the political life of its citizens. And unless that principal is held dear by every citizen, particularly in everyday life, it will fade from the national consciousness. If Democracy falters and fails at the local, grassroots, neighborhood level this free nation is doomed. Don’t be befuddled or distracted; the most important political decisions are made in Greenland, West Fork, Winslow and the tens of thousands of cities, small towns, villages, county seats across our land, not in Washington D.C. – democracy flows from the voting booth nearest you.
So, what does the “Code Book” mean to the average West Fork citizen? It means one’s dealings with city hall are no longer controlled by the fickle direction of elected council members, many of whom have seemed to be doing little more than warming a chair.
It means decisions that affect one’s property, livelihood and pursuit of happiness are no longer in the hands of unelected longtime employees with no accountability. You may not get what you want every time but you’ll know the rules were spelled out; they’re the same for everybody and if you don’t like the rules there is a process in place to change them.
We salute Mayor Hime. She was elected to move the city forward and she is doing just that. Some of the council members are also beginning to move in that direction of accountable and responsible city government; some aren’t.
It’s 18 months until city council elections. Pay attention.