Shutdown v. Shutout

18 Oct

Well, the Federal Government Shutdown is over. Whew!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DC GOVERNMENT SHUTOUT? THAT APPEARS TO BE PERMANENT.

Earlier this week, I had my regular hair appointment at Diego’s Hair Salon and also stopped by couple other of the business people who signed the letter to the DC Mayor and Council chair and had also contacted Jack Evans office on the issue of sidewalk bicycling. Although their letter was hand carried and stamped in in early February, they have no answer yet. This, despite a followup by Diego, who has a portion of Q street named after him as an honorific. During that followup, in March, he actually went downtown to the Wilson building and met with individual council people, who assured him they would “do something.” What that “something” is, is still unknown. But, speaking for myself only, I’d say that something appears to be nothing. Diego’s discouraged. At least one of the other business people said to me “We give money to their campaigns and help them get elected, then we never heard from them again even when we call”

The support letters we citizens have sent have also not been answered. And the FOIA request I made in late June has also still not been answered and is now a month over even their deadline. Nor has a very simple questions of clarification I asked someone in DDOT, although every time I remind him, he says he’ll get to it.

SO WILL THE SHUTOUT BE PERMANENT?

I love DC and for many reasons this is the perfect place for me to live. But I do have to say that the people in DC are extremely patient with the people they elected. After all, they are supposed to be working for us. And the least any one of them should do is–answer their mail. I worked in Congress for my NY rep while I was in grad school. And we answered every letter. Whenever, as a NY citizen or OH citizen, I wrote to my Congresspeople I got an answer. When I worked for governmental entities, I always answered my mail and returned phone calls. In fact, in every job I’ve ever had where I was working with the public, especially when I was in government, responding timely was a requirement.

What makes DC Government, especially the elected ones, different? They don’t have to agree with the citizen’s sentiment, just acknowledge it and, if they really want to show they’re thinking about it, tell what they would do. How hard is that? And as the FOIA request, it’s part of the job description.

Note that above, I call these council members and Mayor, elected “ones” not “officials”. To me, “officials” is what such people are in Dictatorships and Autocracies and Monarchies. In our democratic republic, those we elect, and those they hire, are PUBLIC SERVANTS. The sooner they understand that the better. BUT UNLESS WE HOLD THEM TO THAT STANDARD, THINGS WILL NOT CHANGE. So, think about that the next time you’re voting.

And please comment if you’ve written a letter or sent a petition to DC government personnel in recent years, especially if you’ve received a response. Perhaps there’s something I and the businesspeople are missing.

Enjoy the weekend, especially you federal workers who are back on the job, And STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE.

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