Publisher Chris Faulknor challenges Charlevoix County residents to be active in their government, and highlights an example of this in action
By: Chris Faulknor, Publisher
“Is there any public comment today,” asked the chair.
It was a question required to be asked – the item was on the agenda, and it was the board’s policy to accept comments from the public – twice during each meeting, in fact.
At first, nobody spoke.
This is typical, unless there is something on the agenda that carries some type of controversy.
Slowly, one lone man stood up.
Some in the audience who frequented these meetings rolled their eyes, others even groaned.
As the man pulled a sheet of lined paper out of his pocket and began to read, some fidgeted in their seats.
That man’s name is Bob Taylor, a self-proclaimed “government watchdog,” and he takes that title very seriously.
I hinted above that some tune out Mr. Taylor’s comments, and even implied that there might be some resentment.
What I forgot to mention is that Bob Taylor shows up at many meetings throughout Charlevoix County, and has several key issues that often provoke a comment from him.
The subject of those issues has nothing to do with my point, but his actions are the same regardless.
This citizen does several key things that any concerned citizen should do, and whether or not everyone agrees with each of his points, I admire several of his actions.
First off, he researches.
Bob Taylor spends hours in the County Clerk’s office, Register of Deeds office, and digging through archives, making sure he (as well as our officials) has the facts right, and takes nothing for granted.
Research is very important.
The Boyne City Gazette has a policy to take nothing for granted without seeing the records for ourselves.
We take nobodys word as to the contents of a document – a good practice for anyone looking to keep up on their government.
Second, he participates in meetings and contacts his elected officials.
I have seen him in Chris Christensen’s office more than once, always with a cup of coffee in his hand.
He attends meetings, and reports his feelings to those who are elected, paid, and hopefully honored for the privilige of representing his interests.
Third, Mr. Taylor keeps up on the news.
We at The Boyne City Gazette attend local government meetings so that you, the citizens, can stay informed.
We report on the issues that come up and the actions that are taken to enable you to be an active citizen.
Fourth (and finally), Mr. Taylor doesn’t quit.
When he feels a question isn’t answered enough, he asks again.
When he feels he’s being stonewalled, he files a FOIA request.
If he has something to say, he stands up during public comment.
If he feels his comments didn’t get enough recognition, he stands up at the next meeting, and he says them again.
I haven’t agreed with Bob Taylor on every issue he has commented on.
There have been days when a meeting ran long, and I sighed at another public comment (sorry, Bob)
But amidst all of that, I will always admire Bob Taylor for exercizing his rights as a citizen, and not letting those rights be trodden upon.
We may not all have time to visit every meeting, but what can we do?
Start here – read the articles printed here in The Boyne City Gazette.
We pride ourselves on quality, true, and balanced coverage.
We put our integrity and honor on the proverbial block every time a new issue comes out, and we will not stop.
Let us help you on your way.