Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Much Talk Is Neccessary?

In response to a letter in a local web-based news service, I responded to the editor with this letter.
The original author appeared furious at what he perceived to be the total indifference to his, and his organization's, opinions and viewpoints, as presented in public comments. He really seemed steamed at the local paper for daring to express in an editorial that further public comment was not needed.
I did not get that message out of the editorial in question. What I read was the question of how long or how many times must public comment be entertained. If the comment period is past, can you demand another one because you felt your opinion was unheard. Or was it bad planning on y0ur part for missing the originally scheduled comment period?

My response to the Sitnews editor:

I agree absolutely, thoroughly, completely, and joyously with your identification of some of the fantastic freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.
Public policy is often a hammering out of different viewpoints, none of which survive unscathed. Compromise, negotiation, and agreement have to happen in the formation of policy. Unless we agree to let one person act as our better (and that person has not been born yet), then every action on a community level will be decided by some form of agreement.
When do we stop the talking and get to work?
When does one group stop blocking every negotiation with yet more talk?
When can one side admit that their pet motive or goal has to suffer some of the dents of compromise? Hammers can be wielded by both parties, but both of them must realize that they are probably going to be bruised in the process.
If we continue to talk about the problems we face, then nothing will get done, except more talk. Sooner or later we have to agree to put the hammers down, to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Why is work in such disfavor?
Could it be that a person working doesn't have time to listen to talk? And if no one is listening, that pretty well puts the talkers out of business...or sends them off to block any further work until the hammers get picked up yet again, to hammer out yet more concessions on both sides.
Meanwhile, the work isn't getting done.

I would link to the original Ketchikan Daily News editorial, but their online edition requires a subscription.

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