Since we began focusing on a land preservation matter that had virtually no public exposure before August 10, we’ve gained valuable experience using this new media for citizen advocacy. If Someone Noticed, a site providing the”411 on the Mayor and Commissioners of Elkton,” had not taken on this subject virtually no taxpayer, resident of the town, or stakeholder would’ve been privy to what was going on.
The willingness of Commissioner Storke to present an opposing view (three commissioners voted to move ahead with the land deal) is the exception that created some opportunity for public knowledge. From the start, he addressed the issue when it was in front of the people, not behind closed doors. Thus at least a small handful of citizens attending board meetings had some idea something was going on. To get a feel for how it unfolded, one has to only examine the history of confusion, contradictions and missteps that brought us to the present situation. It just didn’t seem like a practical idea from the moment we heard it, regardless of what you think about preservation, because there were so many barriers and obstacles, including the environment, costs, regulations, and open space mandates. Oh well so much for critically evaluating an idea.
Other citizen advocates may find blogging to be a helpful tool when working for a cause, wh
ich was in our case preservation of an important Elkton historical resource. But it’s also a way to make the internal workings of government known to a larger audience, as constructive dialogue is created.
We said at the start of this posting, we’ve learned a lot about managing this relatively simple technology. We think others may want to use this information sharing method to post opinions when local government isn’t listening. In fact, since this site was initially focused on preservation, we think it would make an excellent topic for one of the sessions at the Preservation Maryland Conference, the annual meeting of the National Historical Trust, and other land and cultural resource advocacy groups.
Come on It — It’s a Wonderful Day in the Blogosphere
To everyone, we say come on in the blogosphere is fine. We’ve had to block a few comments because a couple of site visitors were trying to attack people and turn this into a personality issue, but that’s fine too for we’re able to monitor lots of traffic-related data and manage the outliers. (We’ll stick to the issue.) In fact its amazing how much we can see on our dashboard. Come on in.
(One of the pargraphs above caused us to think of something 20-year Mayor Jim Crouse said at a meeting a few months ago and we started writing on that in this a post. But remembering one of the best practices for posting, we’ve gone back and cut it out of this one. Keep the posts focused. We’ll blog on Mayor Crouse in a seperate piece later;)