Friday, June 24, 2016

West Side Residents Are A Disappointment To Me

When Mayor Distler ran for office she made a promise regarding opening dialog between city hall and the citizens of Shawnee.

She has worked very hard to keep that promise.  Since being sworn in she has probably met with more groups in one year than all previous mayors combined.  She also established two informal citizen get togethers:  Third Thursdays With The Mayor and Quarterly Q & A.

The Third Thursdays are held at the civic center at 9AM and folks are invited for coffee and conversation.  The mayor usually gives an update on what has transpired recently in the city and then she opens the floor to comments and questions from those in attendance.  Usually there is a member or two from staff available to provide additional info and on  occasion other elected members.  Usually there is a pretty good turn out and those citizens are happy with the ability to interact in an open forum without the confines of a formal council type of meeting.

The Quarterly Q&A is held at a pizza restaurant off of K7 and 55th Street.  These are held at 7PM and are designed to attract those who cannot attend a morning event and also, those on the west side of town.  Last night was, IMHO, a very disappointing situation.

Here is the breakdown:   15 total people (including the mayor)

Elected and staff:  6 - including the mayor and the Exec Director of Visit Shawnee (the old C&VB)
Members of the press:  2
Folks who usually attend the 3rd Thursdays and live on the east side:  3
City intern and her friend:  2 (lives in Lenexa and wanted to see what it was all about)
Ward 3 residents:  2

There were more people there from the east side than from the west side.  Unbelievable.  There should have been many more west siders there.  This though, is another example of the apathy shown by the west side residents, particularly in Ward 3, when it comes to local affairs.  That is, unless it directly affects them.  You can see that in the voting numbers when they vote in city elections, the worst in the city (as a percentage of registered voters). 

One of the members of the press made a suggestion that if a BNSF train had rumbled through the area with its horn blaring and a sign to come meet the mayor maybe it would have caught their attention.

When individuals have the opportunity to meet and interact with their elected representatives in an informal atmosphere they need to take advantage of that opportunity. 

BTW, I have posted numerous times in the past about the apathetic attitude of the Shawnee residents on that side of town.  It is a disgraceful situation.