The Right Stuff: Consider Neighborhood Tips

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The notion of politicians versus statesmen has been debated in society since the dawn of time; it is no different from wants versus needs. What do I mean? In politics we see two types of officials: a politician and the other is called a statesman. Everyone is an official sworn to serve the people.

However, the character of a politician is different from that of a statesman.

Politicians do not seek the needs of the people but the needs of special interests. Their character varies in their commitment to individuals and interest groups; politicians are attached to their party and are re-elected. Statesmen are the opposite; they are looking for things to better serve people now and in the future; they are committed to listening and serving the people.

An example is a person who wants something, knowing that they don’t need it, but would do whatever it takes to get it. When a person really needs something, it is an absolute need for life and freedom.

Politicians today work for what they want, but in reality they are fooling people into believing they need it. As a people, we have to come back to the needs of the people, not the wants of politicians. To be the best statesman, you have to be prepared to be willing to disagree with the opinions of others and be able to accept another person’s opinion, especially when that opinion benefits the people you serve.

The concept of having a neighborhood council in every neighborhood is to keep your city council in control and on the job for the people. One voice should never make the difference in choices or decisions that affect a neighborhood. These should be multiple voices displaying a single desire. It would then become the decision of the people, by the people and for the people. A neighborhood council is one of the major keys to changing the orientation of a city by creating a link between the population and an elected representative.

How to form a neighborhood council? The city council will appoint the crime prevention coordinator to oversee the dialogue between the city and the community. The coordinator will develop the neighborhood council from the leaders of Neighborhood Watch. The neighborhood council would appoint leaders and would be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order. Neighborhood Council members will coordinate with the Crime Prevention Coordinator the appropriate responses to citizen inquiries regarding community needs.

The district council would become the point of contact between the city and the inhabitants.

The city council would create a citywide newsletter that would keep the city up to date with what other neighborhoods are doing on certain topics, functions or events. The neighborhood council would make consultative decisions regarding city growth and community projects and events. He would recommend community solutions based on the recognized needs of their neighborhood. The neighborhood council would be an advisory body that assesses the community and the city.

A true leader will always recognize needs versus wants. Let us give power back to the people. Ask people what they need, versus what a politician wants to give them, then people will find that their decision makes a difference, and their voice will be heard across town. These are the people who transform a neighborhood; it is the people who bring unity and transparency. These are the people who bring security and stability to a community.

I believe that every neighborhood watch leader should form a neighborhood council that aims to get results for their community, not for interest groups and politicians. A neighborhood council is a coalition of people who speak to the city about quality of life, homelessness, businesses and new developments.

Will the city leaders listen? They would if they wanted to be re-elected by the people.

Delon Jackson is a retired Richmond Police Officer, a longtime Fairfield resident and a former vice president of the NAACP Richmond branch. Reach it at [email protected].


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