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Editorial: Vox populi has been missing

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opinion Park Rapids, 56470

Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The Hubbard County Board got it.

Now if that group can pass on the message to our school boards and city commissions, all the better for democracy.

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But something is still missing from the equation.

Vox populi.

At Wednesday's meeting, county board members, after making a few snide remarks about "mumbling," turned on their microphones, spoke into them, and business was crystal clear.

It was regrettable that this business was conducted in an empty room.

And it's easy to see perhaps why governmental bodies lapse into a folksy, living room-style of carrying out the public's work.

Why bother polishing up your oratory skills when the public doesn't seem to care how you're spending their money or making decisions on their behalf?

If attendance is a measure of public concern, it's zilch.

We like to think as a newspaper we do a good job of covering our governmental bodies for those who can't attend meetings.

But as much as we try to give you the flavor of what occurred at the numerous meetings we cover and treat them as if you were there with us, nothing substitutes for the real thing - being present.

Our county, cities and school boards are struggling heroically to right their sinking ships, or to keep them afloat.

As public monies from outside sources, the state and federal governments, become scarcer, local taxpayers are increasingly asked to step into the void.

We have real money problems that our elected officials can't possibly solve on their own. You, we, all need input into that decision making process.

A silent populace is a willing victim.

There's simply too much at stake not to keep a watchful eye on our elected officials.

There are many heated races for county, city, school and township races throughout the county.

It's downright scary that voters who've never seen these folks in action are going to the polls in November to decide for us all who should be in charge.

So now that officials have responded to our complaints that we couldn't hear what was going on, it's time to go hear what's going on.

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