As frequent readers (?) of this site know, I have scaled down my postings and monthly digests over the summer. This is primarily because I became very busy at my real job. And let's face it, the real job, not the RDOS rural directorship, pays the bills.
I am posting a few things to the site now because I am once again getting complaints from residents that they did not know about this or that issue. This is not surprising. Information and engagement with taxpayers are big problems in every jurisdiction. The frustrating thing is that people (if you permit me to generalize a bit here) want champagne service on a beer budget. For example, some residents ask for weekly mailouts to their houses without considering the cost of (a) generating these weekly mailouts or (b) mailing them. And even when we do incur the costs of a mailout, a surprising number of people still complain they didn't see it. Put it this way: when was the last time you actually read the material Fortis put in your hydro bill?
The RDOS had a communications professional on staff a few years ago to help get information out to residents but this position was cut at budget time. The City of Penticton recently hired an engagement officer and got nothing but grief. There is lots of fancy talk about politicians needing to listen and communicate better. But when we do hold a public meeting only a small handful of people show up.
Don't get me wrong, there are serious problems with two-way engagement in government and I have tried to sketch some solutions both at TEDx Penticton and more recently in a journal article. But at the end of the day, people are busy.
The nice thing about this website is that it receives pretty good Google coverage. Thus, you can type "husula gas" or "peter bros asphalt noise" or "max lake mosquitoes" into your Google search box and find everything on this site without too much trouble.