Let’s face the issues together | TheUnion.com

Let’s face the issues together

No power is greater than that of setting the public agenda – deciding what issues need to be addressed in our town. Each of us, even those who seldom speak up, have beliefs about which problems deserve attention first.

The League of Women Voters of Nevada County and the Nevada County Community Assessment Project are actively seeking the thoughts of regular people, folks like most of us, about the issues we face together.

The groups are running a series of community forums – the next one is 7 p.m. Monday at Miners Foundry in Nevada City – to hear from people who want to help set the public agenda on questions such as housing, substance abuse, recreation and programs for young people.

It’s particularly important, the two organizing groups say, to hear the voices of those who don’t ordinarily make themselves known. These folks – a group which includes the vast majority of us – have a stake in the community and its future, and it’s critically important that our concerns be part of the conversation.

The first forum in the series was conducted Tuesday at Higgins Corner. Although the conversation was brisk, the participants were few. Many people with good ideas decided to stay home instead. And that hurts all of us.

If you’re worried that your comments will simply go into a report that gathers dust on a shelf, consider this: The Community Assessment Project is used time and again by agencies such as United Way of Nevada County to decide which problems should be fought first. In the recent past, the project helped focus attention on the problems presented by drug and alcohol abuse in the county and spotlighted the challenges faced by working families unable to afford housing.

If you’re worried that the meeting will drag on past your bedtime, be assured that the organizers have pledged it will be over by 9:30 p.m. They’ll even provide your evening snack.

Setting the public agenda is too important a job to leave to someone else.

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