Posts Tagged ‘City Council’

One thing I’ve noticed from watching Avalon City Council meetings is that public attendance and participation are sparse.

Avalon residents face serious challenges: a city deficit, a crumbling sewer infrastructure, increasing taxes, a dwindling water supply and an extremely seasonal economy that is vulnerable to the mainland’s economic ups and downs—just off the top of my head,

The problems won’t solve themselves.

City officials are doing what they believe is best. However, they are not supernatural beings. They are people. They can’t know everything–least of all what you think. You have to tell them what you think. If you can’t attend council meetings in person, watch them online and email your representatives.

I’ve been covering city governments for a long time. Yes, it is sometimes dull. Yes, you sometimes have to sit through a tedious report or two before something interesting comes up. But if you make a habit of watching or attending City Council meetings, you may just find yourself watching and participating in the best drama/comedy around. And it will be real. And it may just make a big difference in your life.

Or you can stamp your feet and whine when city officials make decisions you don’t like. Your choice.

I cover local governments in Avalon, Paramount (a small town north of Long Beach), Seal Beach in in Rossmoor (a small, land-locked “island” surrounded by the cities of Long Beach, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach.

I keep hoping the communities I cover will look at Avalon and learn from example.

This week, I wrote a news story about Avalon’s plans to apply for grant money to replace the existing trolleys with electric buses. On the front page of the paper is a picture of the latest bird to join the ranks of the falcons that drive off Avalon’s undesirable birds.

On the mainland, in Seal Beach, the city’s iconic pier is covered with bird droppings and I find myself wishing Seal Beach would hire a falconer as Avalon has done.

I like the current Seal Beach City manager well enough, but when our last city manager quit, I found myself wondering if more cities would be better off by following Avalon’s practice of hiring a part-time city manager and part-time chief administrative officer.

In a time of tight budgets throughout the state, perhaps it is time for mainland communities to start looking at communities that have always had unique challenges—to steal, for lack of a better word, their ideas. Avalon abounds in creativity, be it in the art shows, the Christmas events, the art festival—or public administration.

I didn’t take the photo above, but I couldn’t resist using it to illustrate this post..