Gary Crusader, January 12, 2008
So who has been to a City Council meeting?
Who has been to a Public Works meeting?
Who has been to a Park Board meeting?
How many have attended School Board Meetings?
Anybody been to a meeting of the GSD?
What about a Planning meeting?
Department of Redevelopment?
Anybody go to the Lake County Council meeting in Crown Point?
I could go on and on. But really how many people have ever been to a public government meeting? And not just the ones that are held in Miller, the one in downtown Gary. You know they call them “public meetings” for a reason—generally there is a lot of public in attendance. But in Gary, where of all places the public should be interested in what’s going on, rarely are any members of the public in the audience. And rarer yet, do any members of the public offer their opinion to there various boards and councils. You know, if our city were being run perfectly, then you would have an excuse not to get involved. But we all know that is nowhere near the case. So what then explains the pervasive apathy of nearly all of Gary’s residents? And what explains Miller’s residents avoiding participation in the Gary political scene like the plague? Does everyone in Miller realize that they have 4 council people? There is Marilyn and there are 3 at-large members. At large means they serve the entire city. When people in Miller and the rest of the 1st District have problems, they can call not only Marilyn, but they can call Roy Pratt, they can call Kyle Allen, and as of noon today, they can call Reagan Hatcher-Matthews. And probably most effectively, you can call all four of them. You can also call the Mayor’s office (for all the good that will do). And you can call the Deputy Mayor, Geraldine Tousant.
For crime-related issues, you can call the Chief of Police, the Deputy Chief, or others in supervisory positions within the ranks of the GPD. If you can’t get properly served that way, you can call the Lake County Sheriff. If you are still not satisfied, you can call the Indiana State Police.
For any corruption-related issues, you can contact the U.S. Attorney’s office in Hammond. Or you may want to try the local FBI office in Merrillville. A simple call to 411 will put you in touch with any of the aforementioned agonies. If you are still not getting satisfaction, you can contact your State Representative, you can call Congressman Visclosky, and you can always try the Governor’s Office. But as smart as many of those people are that I mentioned, none of them are mind readers. If problems aren’t brought to their attention, they probably aren’t going to have the time to call you up once a month to ask you how everything is going.
Everybody has surely heard the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” And in many cases, that’s all it takes to get services. Now you may shout your complaints fro the rooftops, and you still may not get any attention. But if you sit home and silently suffer through intolerable situations rather than a legitimate attempt to get something done about it, then I guarantee that you will not get any service. And of course one of the most effective ways to get service is to call the press. we have four papers that serve Gary, the Post-Tribune, the Hammond Times, the Crusader, and the 411. We also have a radio station, WLTH, that serves Gary and takes calls every morning. We also have channel 2 News reporter, Pamela Jones living in Miller.
If for some reason you are incapacitated and cannot get to these meetings, most of them are televised and can be viewed on Channel 4 or 56. If you don’t have cable you can go to one of our libraries and watch them there. If you are not comfortable speaking publicly, or have schedule conflicts, you can always write letters instead. Often, written commentary can be as or more affective than verbal. You can also write letters to the editor or any or all of the local papers.
There is really no excuse for the residents of Gary that live in the Miller area not to be more involved in their own government. Right about now, you must be feeling the full effects of the punishment you are receiving for not being involved up to this point. This sentence can be commuted by the Do-it-Yourself method anytime you decide that you’ve already suffered enough.
The most common excuse everybody uses is, “I’m too busy.” I then ask, “If you are too busy to do everything you can to ensure you are providing the beast quality of life for your family and yourself, what the heck are you doing that is more important? Let’s resolve to make 2008 a truly happy and prosperous new year, not just another complacent one. With less than 20% voter turn out this can apply to any city/town in the area.
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.