As we quickly approach the city wide elections in August we wanted to take some time to reflect on our group’s efforts from the past few months. Our group was started as Take Back Enterprise in early 2015. We were formed as a nonprofit and nonpartisan group with the sole mission of educating the citizens of Enterprise about the need to bring open government to our city. Open government is about having transparency, collaboration, and participation between the elected government and its citizens.
As a part of this mission we have requested numerous things from our elected politicians. Some of these requests have been granted (please read our previous blog posts for a full picture of what we have be doing). Because of our request we now have city council meetings videotaped and posted online. However, they have refused to do the same for their work sessions. Also, because of our request we now have more minutes from work sessions and council meetings posted on the city’s website. However, minutes from other government board meetings are not posted for the public’s easy access. Also, our requests for true financial transparency in the form of online financial transparency software have gone unanswered. Furthermore, only one of our elected officials has been willing to meet with us to discuss our concerns. We have, however, exposed many untrue statements and misrepresentations of facts by our elected officials that were used to push their agenda to the detriment of our city. So, while we feel some progress has been made we know that much more needs to be accomplished.
One thing is for sure, our efforts have gotten the attention of the citizens of Enterprise. We have heard you loud and clear. Because of our efforts a few citizens feel like they can bring the needed change to our city and have decide to run for public office. So far, Eugene Goolsby and Perry VIckers have announced their candidacy for seats on the City Council. In addition to this, Milton Shipman has announced his candidacy for Mayor. While our group does not and cannot endorse any political candidate we do feel that it is a good thing more citizens are getting involved in the political process and giving the people a true choice in deciding who is going to lead them.
We would like to encourage all of the citizens to get involved in this election cycle. Do you feel that open government is right for our city? If so, talk to the candidates and encourage them to support open government. Do you want more transparency? Then talk to the candidates and encourage them to support it too? Do you think your opinion matters? Get involved in the process to find out which candidates care more about you and our city’s future rather than their legacy and state retirement. We’ve been working for the last year to inform everyone about our concerns and we’ve heard you say that you agree. Well, now it’s your turn! Our organization can’t vote, but you can. Make your voices heard. What makes America great is that you, as a citizen, have the power to change things. When you enter that voting booth, there’s no one looking over your shoulder. You will have the unrestricted freedom to make your voice heard. The ball is in your court.
In order to not distract from the political process and to allow the attention to be placed on the candidates vying for office. We will be fairly quiet over the coming weeks. We want the candidates to have your full attention. Please feel free to reach out to us via our Facebook page if you have questions about open government. Rest assured we will be keeping an eye on the candidates and listening to see which of them desire to have true open government.