Poulsbo in focus

Welcome to my new column which will feature comments from and about our local leaders and everyday citizens who make up the population of the city nestled along the shores of Liberty Bay.

One of America’s most colorful and arguably most effective speakers of the House of Representatives was Tip O’Neil, once quoted as saying “All politics is local.” To that end, I will focus on the people within our local government and you, our readers, without whom those leaders would not have been voted into office.

Since being elected to the office of city councilman and then appointed mayor of the city of Buena Park, California, in 1957, I have been an active participant in one way or another in every city in which I have resided. Poulsbo will not be the exception.

Citizen participation in government will be the paramount mantra of this column in helping to maintain representative government in our city and county. I will consistently remind my readers through interviews of elected officials, department heads and citizens at large of this important issue during the following weeks and months.

A few months back when a Poulsbo city councilman-elect vacated his seat, the Herald featured an article bemoaning the low interest level of citizens in the community for not stepping up to apply for the position.

Fortunately that article seemed to have some effect, as when the city made it known the position would be filled by appointment, several citizens did step forward to be interviewed. The selection was made and the new council member Abby Garland is now seated. That gave me some hope that citizen apathy was trounced at least this time.

“We get the government we vote for” is commonly quoted, but more often than not, we tend to get the government we DON’T vote for. Unfortunately, voter turnout in many parts of the nation has been shamefully low. Not voting disavows our American heritage while shirking a person’s civic duty.

My goal with this column is to help defeat voter apathy and replace it with a hopeful, knowledgeable and dedicated citizenry which will champion and participate in good city and county government. Should I succeed in this goal locally, then state and national government will, out of that effort, see voter participation increase exponentially.

Young people of America are showing us the way.

Saturday, March 24, marked the day that America’s youth began their campaign for sensible gun ownership legislation and voter registration, many of whom are near or already eligible to vote.

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will do well to pay attention to the message. To ignore these young people and their message could cost House and Senate seats in the mid-term and 2020 elections.

I plan to follow the movement in this column as it progresses over the coming months because it dovetails so well with my theme of participative government.

Readers are urged to participate in this column by sharing their thoughts, volunteering to be interviewed, suggesting new and different topics and people you feel would like to share their experiences to be interviewed in the coming weeks and months…

Thank you.

— Bill Effinger can be reached at bill@billeffinger.net or on Twitter, @WREPro.