Dear Local Government, I Love You!

Posted on May 19, 2015

Civic Leaders is an exclusive local government web-interview series hosted and operated by Springbrook Software, an Accela company, produced by the VOLSTA Media Network, and syndicated on ELGL. Each month the show shares a candid look into the challenges and triumphs experienced by passionate public employees that are committed to their calling.

Incite: Dear #LocalGov, I Love You

By Bert Lowry, Springbrook Software, an Accela company

I have a confession. I love local government.
You may think, “Well, isn’t that convenient. Springbrook’s Marketing Intelligence Officer wants me to believe he loves local government.” Well, it’s true. But rather than trying to convince you, I’ll explain why I love local government, and maybe, along the way, help you realize how amazing and necessary local government really is.

Local Government is the World’s Greatest Engine of Human Happiness and Comfort

That’s a big claim, but I’m serious. And every local government professional should recognize it.
Just imagine your community without local government. I did an experiment recently – maybe you can do the same experiment – I walked around Portland and cataloged local government in action. I wanted to see what local government actual provides. It was eye-opening.
First, the big obvious things:

  • Public schools – educating our children
  • Public safety – police and fire – keeping our communities safe

Everyone knows about those, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg, I also found:

  • Public libraries
  • People keeping the streets and sidewalks clean, so we don’t wallow in our own filth
  • The water department, in case you ever want to drink or take a bath
  • And the sewer department in case you don’t want your city to smell like sewage
  • People repairing streets
  • Public parks

I live in Portland, so we have a lot of bridges. Guess who built and maintains them? …That’s right: local government. Looking down just one street I saw:

  • A bench, in case you’re tired
  • A streetlight, so you can see after dark
  • Traffic signals, so the streets don’t get crazy
  • The street itself, for Pete’s sake
  • Sidewalks and Public transportation, so folks can get around
  • A garbage can for…garbage
  • Trees, because people think they’re pretty
  • Public art – hey, I may not understand it, but it adds to the cultural richness
  • A manhole cover, leading to the city’s infrastructure
  • Even a street sign, so people can find their way around

Imagine if you took all that away. What would you have left? You might think it would be like a city in the developing world. But even third world cities have local government. They have sidewalks and streetlights. If you get rid of local government, you don’t even have a third world city. You have a third world slum – filthy, crowded, unsafe – and well, a miserable place you would not want to call come.
But thanks to #LocalGov, we have the communities we love. It’s kind of awe-inspiring:
And you make it happen. Once you open your eyes, it’s hard not to love local government.
Yours Truly,
Bert Lowry
Civic Leaders Host and Market Intelligence Officer for Springbrook Software, an Accela company.

What is Your #LocalGov Love Story?

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