Get involved to bring change

Published 9:29 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

On May 1, Matt Knutson wrote a very good Tribune article titled “Speak up when you see injustice in the world.” We do have a problem locally. The public does need better outlets and less intimidating ways to voice their concerns. Leadership doesn’t seem to really care what people think, especially if you have an opposing view. How do you gauge the reality of the community when people become disgusted and do not get involved? Unfortunately government depends on that lack of involvement so they can push their agendas through with little or no opposition. Involvement, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, is the only way to affect change.

Recent action by the mayor and city council to remove a reprimand from the city manager’s work file is a prime example of an injustice by our local government. How can you take the mayor and council seriously when they protect and enable the city manager to do whatever he wants without consequences for his actions, and they violate their own policies and ordinances? Those results are what we face today.

You get articles from the mayor or the city manager that provide half-truths, a city manager who wants to control every aspect of the city from his office using collaborations, a layer of assistants and consultants to shield himself from lower level employees and the public when it comes to being held accountable, and a mayor who tells the public at a council meeting not to write letters to the editor or call party line about information provided by a consultant. That seems like a contradiction of what should really happen.

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What difference does it make what platform is used to discuss the issues as long as they are being discussed? With this type of system in place, where are the checks and balances to protect us against whatever kind of injustice is inflicted upon us? How would you expect the public to respond? A community where the public cannot trust that the justice system is being carried out correctly and favoritism and special treatment exists only angers the public more, knowing that the system is stacked against them.

Mr. Knutson’s last two sentences are the most important of the whole article; “We’ll never find solutions to unheard problems” and “You need to speak up when you see an injustice, no matter who it involves.”

I know all too well how uncomfortable it can be to get involved and question the system and our leaders, but the laws and rules that govern us all are supposed to be administered fairly and uniformly to everyone.

One day we will all be judged and held accountable. I believe we will be judged not by who we thought we were or the positions we held in life, but by how we interacted with and treated our fellow human beings every day of our life.


Gary Hagen

Albert Lea