Keeping the conversation going | Colleen Smidt

The ability to openly and freely communicate in well-known community forums is a critical and necessary tool.  Open conversations provide the opportunity for the advancement of ideas that might not otherwise be heard.

Community forums provide a much needed opportunity for involved community members to post and share the information they have obtained as they journey their way through the public process of governance.

Conversations inspire others to get involved.  These open forums provide bits and pieces of information that tend to be left out of the standard reporting process due to space limitations or because the overall focus of the story involved does not allow for it.

In some cases the comments steer the conversation in a direction that provides a different angle or perspective.

The ability to openly communicate locally has undergone some changes in recent years.  Apparently there are more changes to come as some in the publishing industry choose to switch to a “paywall” system which requires registration and payment for online access as well as the ability to comment.

As one social media door closes another one opens.  The most important thing to remember and focus on is keeping the open public dialogue going by choosing to participate and finding the right vehicle in which to engage.

Recently there are many local issues that have received considerable media and leadership attention and have progressed much farther in their solutions than they would have if public conversations had not provided and maintained a certain amount of influence and pressure.

Graffiti clean-up efforts, school zone crosswalk maintenance, blighted property regulations and noticeably smaller increases via the rate utility study are just a few that come to mind in the past year.

I hope that more of you will join in the conversation efforts and you will consider having some of those conversations here via the service provided by Sound Publishing and with me.  I openly welcome all of your comments online and in person.  I very much enjoy when someone mentions one of my columns to me whether they liked and agreed with it or not.

The City of Bremerton has a full election plate coming this fall.  Every member of the city council, the mayor and the municipal judge are all up for election this year.  Districts are being reduced and boundaries changed.

It is now more important than ever that an open, solid and inclusive community conversation takes place regarding candidates and issues.  The sharing of information, fact checking and the correction of inaccuracy will play a pivotal role in the outcome.

What our community and city looks like on the other side of this election will come from the conversations we have now and in the coming months.

Keep posting.  Keep participating.  Keep the pressure on local leaders to be transparent, move forward and implement real solutions.

Find a way that fits for you


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