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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Part 2: Are Local Strong Mayor-Council Drives Grassroots?

In the instance of Federal Way, a California-based organization by the name of Strong Mayor-Council Institute headed up by its president, Adrian Kwiatkowski, lists the city as one of many of whom they have had experience offering a full bank of services including: government structure research, charter amendment drafting, charter review process support, research and analysis, advocacy and public strategy, community and public relations and campaign consulting.

Kwiatkowski is also currently, director, government and public affairs for The Monger Company of San Diego, CA which boldly touts on its website that it is "a strategic advocacy firm that helps companies, organizations, and individuals win government and public support for their projects."

Monger's site shares with web visitors the firms acknowledged visibility and prominence on the political radar stating they've been "stirring up San Diego politics and businesses" since the mid-nineties. Monger takes credit for work on behalf of advocates for the passage of a Strong Mayor Charter City amendment in San Diego during 2004 - a movement which had been unsuccessfully sought by prior citizens for a quarter of a century. After the company personnel stepped in to educate voters those lists of desired changes could then be set in motion. Other successes the company has enjoyed in San Diego include the passage in March 2002 of the Taxpayer Protection Act (Proposition E) which the website proudly declares was accomplished despite sound opposition by city leaders, community organizers and ordinary citizens.

While enlisting, hiring or receiving advice from professional communication firms such as The Monger Company is day to day ordinary business when utilized and applied by individual citizens, candidates, governments and various business and social interest groups running democratic campaigns - in the interest of transparency alone there ought to be equal insistence the electorate be offered give such information in order to assist them to make a truly informed and educated decision on full merits of local initiatives appearing on the ballot such as the Strong Mayor-Council initiative.

If the definition of politics passed on to me back in seventh grade holds true - that politics can be defined by who gets what, when, where and why. What are the linkages if there are any between individuals holding memberships in local organizations who represent themselves to their fellow voters as purely hometown neighbors of modest means and resources reacting with fiery indignation against improper and unjust local policies wielded by entrenched and ill-defined elites and the agenda of larger less locally connected, regional, state, national and international groups? Exactly who and what are we actually voting for?

Given the swift plunge and decline of national and international financial markets and what were thought to be bedrock institutions only last fall, it's entirely reasonable that we whether in our roles as independent citizens or members of a larger society, whether liberal, middle-of-the-road, conservative, indifferent or abstaining have a greater charge and responsibility to look more keenly beyond the outer packaging of all products and ideas asking for our attention and support

1 comment:

JosephMcG said...

I love your postings... thanks for challenging me(us) to figure out the who, what, why, and how of the groups and structures who direct and/or support our lives.