COMMENTARY: To some it may feel like our governments are run in an old-style ruler/commoner relationship.
Is this relationship in the process of being inverted to a citizen/public servant relationship?
Here are some examples of leaders, citizens and those in the media who are implementing the shift of inverting the pyramid.
On Dec. 1, Santa Fe Mayor Gonzales and councilors announced a community listening session on the budget.
As noted in the announcement, this inverting of the pyramid was intended to include the citizens in the city’s budget-making process. Not only was this an opportunity to meet in person with the mayor and councilors, but the city manager, the emergency management officer and the finance director were to attend.
I wonder how many other mayors and leaders of other governments in New Mexico will implement this. If not, is it up to the citizens to invert this pyramid by requesting to participate in the budget-making process of their government? The money is the center of all activity; therefore, it’s important to follow the money spent via our budgets.
An effective leader unites their people. Note how the mayor’s announcement wisely incorporated the unity required to have everyone working in one upward and unified direction when Mayor Gonzales said, “In any budget process, public engagement is important, but especially as we face the challenges we face, and with the commitment we have made to put the City back on sound financial footing, we need the whole community to know what’s happening, have input, and participate in the solution.”
Another example is Governor Martinez’s inverting of the pyramid with the Court Monitoring and Sentencing Transparency Initiative.
This will place New Mexicans in courtrooms to monitor the justice process as it relates to DWI cases by observing the DWI adjudication process and providing information to the public about how cases are being handled. You can view the detailed request for proposals, which will fund this process and ensure that reports and statistics will be generated to educate citizens on the process with the end result of an improvement to our current system.
I would think there are times when our leaders feel like they are Hercules holding up the inverted pyramid on their backs. Given how much room for improvement is needed in New Mexico, imagine what could be done if our leaders implemented a mechanism, either voluntary or publicly funded, to involve citizens in an organized fashion at all levels of our governments by attending open meetings and reporting on their effectiveness.
With unity we could leapfrog from the bottom by transforming the energy that is spent via social media attacks, obfuscation and other resistance into a structured process to effect change towards our common goal of good government.
At a recent Albuquerque City Council meeting there were multiple examples of inverting the pyramid in action.
Two ABQ city councilors asked the question that had been previously submitted by citizens. You can view the video of the dialogue at 12 minutes in this video.
At 1:06 in that same video there is a long and lively 20-minute discussion during public comment about public access television paid for by taxpayers. One of the requests made is to reconstitute the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board and ensure an avenue for citizens to make public comment via public access television.
At 1:53 there is a discussion about EC-15-1, a Veto Message related to the Rio Grande Valley State Park. In this discussion there was so much obfuscation that it was not clear to the counselors what has actually happened. As a result, the funding may be pulled in February if there isn’t more effort made to resolve differences.
Action items resulted in each of the citizen’s input. You may also find it worthwhile to count how many times the words truth or trust came up and how much time was spent in a 4-hour meeting on truth and trust not only during these three discussions but also during public comment.
Imagine where Albuquerque would be if that energy was redirected by our leaders into a unified direction. It’s healthy to have discussions on differences to work through to the optimum solution. It’s unhealthy to have discussions on the lack of truth and trust and indicates a cancer in the entity.
Reviewing the recording of public comment at past City Council meetings will reveal the evolution of inverting the pyramid in Albuquerque, especially the stark contrast at the Albuquerque City Council take over on May 5, 2014, which could be interpreted to be the turning point for inverting the pyramid.
New Mexico in Depth is inverting the pyramid with their articles on capital outlay funding. Asking Legislators to share how they spend taxpayer dollars for their specific projects and providing the information in a snapshot allows citizens to review those projects and be able to see the effect of how their tax dollars are spent. This also educates the citizen at election time.
NMPolitics.net’s central theme is to unite citizens with government in a positive and productive discourse. By allowing positive and productive discussion on a variety of topics from a diverse population, one can see this inversion process as the pyramid continues to shift.
This article was not intended to exclude the many, many others that are inverting the pyramid. Please share those who are also working towards unifying citizens with government by inverting the pyramid.
I am hopeful that our leaders and citizens will continue to make New Mexico better. Now is the time to unite and work together for New Mexico and for our children’s future.
Please also consider donating to NMPolitics.net and similar news organizations if you appreciate the value from the education, connections and clarity their news provides that unite all of us to make New Mexico better.
Goodman is a citizen advocating to make New Mexico better by continuously improving our government and providing a better future for our children and the future of New Mexico. She can be reached at [email protected].