When it comes to government, citizens have the feeling of non-importance.
There are only three public services that make residents angry enough to really get involved.
Providing these services without interruption, pretty much allows elected officials to carry out their political agenda without a voter revolution.
- Keep the street lights working
- Pick up the garbage
- Make the power stay on
When these services work, it is enough for about 90% of the voters.
Everything else is of peripheral concern and, unless it impacts voters personally, politicians tend to skate freely.
Of course, there is the other 10% of voters who are involved. They are vocal and are willing to speak up. But they are a minority and considered a nuisance. Particularly if they oppose the policies of the current administration.
Issues like policy, taxes, budgets, incremental service and general operations are of little concern to the average resident.
This of course is good news for politicians, who go out of their way to state publicly how transparent their administration is. And, usually, when the word “transparent” is spoken by a politician, it is a red flag and reason to hold on to your wallet.
Language is very important to politicians. So important that many hire a Public Relations firm to assist them in preparing civic presentations that produce a position or policy in terms that sound palatable to the general public. These firms of course are paid by taxpayers.
However, keep in mind that 90% of the population don’t really care.
Consider that during a general election, only about 60% of registered voters vote. In an off year this drops to about 40%. Among young people, the number dropped this year to 31%.
And you wonder why we have the leadership we do? Who cares? The street lights work.
In Santa Clara, we have a City Council approving policies, decimating organizations and attacking good people like they were descendants or partners of Al Capone. Who cares? The garbage was picked up.
The San Francisco 49ers are accused of theft, money laundering, graft and corruption. The Chamber of Commerce, after 35 years of stellar operations is ousted as bandits. Our Chief of Police is displayed as a Nazi on a City endorsed blog. Who cares? The power is still on.
Maybe, just maybe, this may be the year that our political pressure gauge hits the red zone.
Usually it only takes one major travesty or huge political blunder to bring order to the house of politics. Based on the overt actions of our Council and City Manager versus the recent election of two new neutral Council representatives, their minority represents that order.
Who cares? Obviously enough voters to see the importance of a balanced government offering the stability of sanity in a crazy world of nonchalance.