Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Blog? Why Now?

So I've started a Blog. Why?

I've been representing Ward Three on Prince Albert City Council since 2000 - more than seven years now. It's a responsibility that I take seriously, and a privilege that I appreciate the residents of Ward Three entrusting me with, through three elections so far. But one of the problems that I've found is keeping up ongoing communication with the people that I represent, or other residents of the city. People can phone, and do (my number is in the book - 922-5313), and many stop me on the street or in a store to ask questions and offer their suggestions. But a blog gives me the opportunity to communicate to a wider audience on a regular basis what's going on at City Council, what are the issues that are being discussed, and the reasons for my stance on these issues. It also has the further advantage of giving you the opportunity to ask questions, to provide your input and ideas on issues, and to suggest ways that the city could work better.

Why now?

I've been thinking about blogging for several months, but recently a number of issues have been raised at council and I'm not sure that the total picture has been presented by the local media. I can't, of course, provide the full picture, but I can provide more background information, and my perspective. When it comes right down to it, we each have our own perspectives and principles - I think that it's only fair to let you know where I'm coming from.

My job as a City Councillor is to help to make decisions that affect the well-being of Prince Albert and its residents. I feel that, before making these decisions, Council needs to discuss all options, get input from experts and from the people who will be affected by the decisions, and then make the best, most informed decision possible. This requires asking questions, pointing out possible pitfalls, and keeping the best interests of Prince Albert as the focus of all decisions.

I've been doing this, to the best of my ability, for the past seven years. Sometimes I have been the only one voting against a decision - my responsibility is to vote for what I believe is best, not based on appearances or emotion. Council decisions have long-term effects on the people of Prince Albert, and should be made transparently. I'm hoping that the information that I can provide through this will help with that transparency.

My plan is to update this blog after every council meeting, (that's every other Monday, so look for updates on Tuesday), letting you know what was discussed, important points that were raised, and my reasons for how I voted. I may also blog after Executive Committee meetings, which are usually held on non-council Mondays, depending on what's discussed at these meetings. In between, if questions are asked, or is an issue requires further comment, or if I think that there's something that my not be widely understood about council goings-on, I'll post something.

Please feel free to send me any questions, comments or suggestions that you may have. I don't expect everyone to agree with my perspective on every issue - in fact, if that happens, then we're not being honest with each other. But I do think that issues can be discussed respectfully, and only by doing so can we work together to make a better city, for all residents.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


citizen_awareness said...

Congratulations Councillor Atkinson! You are taking initiative in an open format communicae; much appreciated and I will be letting my friends know about your blog--especially those in Ward 3. I look forward to seeing your perspective on the decisions that impact us as taxpayers in this city.

overtaxed_and_underPA'd said...

Good idea Lee! I'm a taxpayer that appreciates transparency in our elected officials. Since I can't keep up with all the "special meetings" I like the blog idea to stay informed.

Just said...

Lee, I think every counsel, committee, group, or organization that is responsible to a collective group of people should have people sitting that have the ability to ask the hard questions. This keeps people accountable and responsible. Other people that bring forward proposals and argument should be repaired to answer the hard questions that support what they are trying to achieve. Arrogant people that think things should go their way just because should step aside as they are not needed. This is a new day where the old school drinking golf and curling club boys’ mentality and dictatorship of the past can no longer survive. Keep the transparency going, it keeps people honest and on their toes.