Happy Mardi Gras Day! May you find the baby in the King Cake, get all the beads, and march in all the parades today! May you enjoy red beans and rice and wash it down with cans of Dixie Beer, or, if you prefer, some Barq's Root Beer. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, Google "New Orleans."
Martinez Patch is really about conversation. We do more than invite comments from our users - we urge them. We want our community to weigh in on the various issues and goings-on in town.
There are quite a few voices that weigh in here all the time. Some almost daily, others less frequently, but we have an active Patch, and I'm proud of that.
But there are some voices missing, and the omission is obvious and even glaring. There are ten elected officials we have yet to hear from. Where is the mayor? Where are the City Council members? Where are the school board members?
I hereby invite these elected officials to weigh in with their voices here. Yes, I know that participation in a web site conversation is a great risk, given the fact that you open yourself up to much more criticism than you do in a live meeting. It's a political reality that for elected officials, giving your opinion or viewpoint when you don't have to can be dangerous. I understand that.
But here's the thing - these are new times. This is a new medium. People don't do top down communication any more. People expect their elected officials to be available to them on line, in real time now. The electorate doesn't want to be spoken to, they want to interact with the people they elect. Yes, commenting on issues such as the marina and downtown revitalization may open them up to critics, but guess what? Those critics are already here. The council gets criticized daily on this site. They should answer those critics. They should be confident enough in their actions and decisions to weigh in here and defend them. Is Patch going to be a site where only critics get a chance to be heard? That doesn't make for much of a conversation.
And the school board is in the process of deciding major issues, such as the use of Measure K funds in the schools. Which schools will receive which benefits? And the technology initiatives are currently underway - it would be great to hear directly from the board members on their views regarding this vital shift in our educational paradigm.
Martinez Patch should be a community conversation, where everyone with something valuable to say gets heard. Our elected officials have a great deal to say, and some of it gets reported in meeting coverage. But Patch is an opportunity to deliver their words and ideas without a media filter.
I urge our elected officials to join in the conversation. It's been a lot of fun so far, and their voices would only make it better.
Would you like to hear from elected officials on Patch? Tell us in the comments.