It's a new year – time to get involved
In this era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other avenues for comments on websites and the like, it's easy for people to mount verbal attacks anonymously
In this era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other avenues for comments on websites and the like, it's easy for people to mount verbal attacks anonymously. But it's rarely helpful and, in fact, probably hinders or downright squelches important discussions on issues.
Equally troubling are those who choose to join in the conversation very late in the process, for example recent Facebook posts about the trees in Pool Park that were felled to make way for a new aquatic center.
While a few people took the time to approach the Chehalem Park and Recreation District board of directors when they were working for many months through plans to build the new aquatic center, many people have chosen instead to sit on the sidelines and make offhand comments without having a firm grasp of neither the issues nor the background of the drive to replace Newberg's popular, but aging pool.
The phenomenon leaves officials scratching their heads, wondering why people who are so empassioned about the issues don't step up and participate in the decision-making processes. For the most part the only people that attend the meetings where these decision are made either have a vested interest in the outcome, such as developers in a hearing about a subdivision, or members of the media, namely us.
So, Newberg residents, we're calling you out, admonishing you, throwing down the gauntlet: Just as you can't complain about politicians if you don't take the time to vote, you can no longer complain about decisions made by volunteer boards and committees if you don't bother to attend the meetings and make your feelings known.
To help you in the process of getting involved we've assembled a short list of where and when local boards and committees meet. Show up and they will more than welcome your input on the issues.
– The Newberg City Council, where all manner of city business ultimately ends up before becoming official, meets the first and third Mondays of each month.
Citizens are welcome to attend both the work sessions (6 p.m.) and the business sessions (7 p.m.) at the Public Safety Building. At the latter they can speak before the council about any topic or about an issue the council is specifically considering that evening.
Some issues appear before the planning commission before the council, particularly development or transportation topics. The public can also testify before this group, which meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety Building.
There are also opportunities to learn and offer input on more specific efforts: there's the historic preservation commission, the traffic safety commission, the library board, the affordable housing commission, and even the long range financial planning committee for the more economics-curious residents out there. Find out when and where these entities meet at www/newberg oregon.gov/meetings.
The CPRD board meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month at its headquarters, 125 S. Elliott.
The Newberg School District board of directors meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the district office, 714 E. 6th St.
So, there you have it. Now citizens have no reason not to become directly involved in decisions that affect the town and its residents. That's not to say all those decisions will necessarily conform to citizens' views on the issues, but it beats the current model: online criticism with no proposed solutions.