13 August 2005

Democracy and collective direction

The Council should do something about that!
Is the local government a leading force in the area? Or does it only follow what the local community wants? Does the maintenance of a quality of life require active initiation by residents or can they be passive and expect the authorities to initiate actions to protect their life quality?
Local government is an agency for the will of the community. They rarely initiate action. They respond to community pressure. If there is no community pressure, they will respond to other interests which exert pressure, such as the business community. In Manly, this group want to allow unlimited alcohol consumption right through the night, because they believe it is good for business. Drunks part with their money easily.
The community can exert pressure through elected representatives, whose role is to lead the local government. But without community support they will find this task difficult. Also, they are unable to raise all the issues which affect everyday life in a community.
The other day I saw some resident (thinking of their own convenience but not of other people) had installed some powerful spotlights which blind all those who go walking on the Manly walkway to Cabbage Tree Bay at night. I thought “The council should do something about that!” But how would the administrators know? How would the elected representatives know? The only ones who could do anything would be those walking there, like me. The same applies to the other localised impacts on everyday life such as polluting cars, noisy vehicles, machine noise in the subs, and tree poisoning.
Often residents choose to be passive. The result is that the bullies determine life quality. Strong is right. Toughness prevails. The quality of life in the subs spirals gradually downwards. Local governments, in the interest of their own easy survival and secure employment, go along with the bully “consensus” only taking a tough stand on illegally parked vehicles and bicycles, or alternatively on those who make trouble by complaining.
Then the media wonders why there are bullies in schools.

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