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Ten Dollars Worth of Conversation

By Staff | Feb 5, 2020

The restaurant is the best place to learn civic lessons. Go in for a dollar cup of coffee, and you’ll get ten dollar’s worth of conversation. Unless you spend some time in the local coffee shops, you’ll never understand today’s civics. The conversations involve expansive topics like international affairs but include small talk, too. Where else can you hear everything from parking problems, infrastructure failure, whether we have too many police or not enough police and argue about everything, including the Mountaineers and the Big 12.

I would advise that today’s children would become better citizens and be more informed if they spent some time in the restaurants. I’m talking all restaurants and coffee shops, including fast food. It’s hands on lessons, asking questions like what’s going on at city hall? Where’s the drinking water coming from? What’s in the water and what is being done about it.

Find out about our rivers and streams. You know, the ones that have always been the dumping ground for a valley full of chemical plants, factories, and mills The water stained contributaries with whatever waste had nowhere else to go. Sewers for whatever came out of the plants for the past 100 years or more.

None of this matters, however, if ordinary citizens stand idly by and do nothing to change pubic priorities. The lesson we never seem to learn anywhere else would make good civic classes for our students. It’s that simple, take them to breakfast and let them join the conversations for an hour.

It’s easier than we think to overcome power and break through. First you need a tiny number of committed citizens who will roll up their sleeves and say, we’ve had enough, that’s what young folks can do. They have the most to gain and the most to lose.

Local governments must be held accountable when it comes to informing the communities they serve. From the dangers involving their water source or any thing else for that matter. Information that needs passed on to local citizens includes everything from the smallest problem to when the next election will be held and what positions are open.

More and more we find out what is going on through the grapevine because everything takes place behind closed doors in executive session.

The biggest obstacle to democratic activity in this country today, is people not showing up. They have to show up at town meetings, show up to vote, show up when needed, and if they don’t do that, it’s over.

I was thrilled to see local high school students are signing up to vote. The power of the ordinary citizen to change public priorities is found by persuading others to join the cause. Sometimes it has to happen. When communities get too comfortable in their handling of the affairs of their constituents, it becomes time for a change.

We are at that point! For the past several years and maybe much longer, Paden City has had a water problem. Complaints have been numerous, the community has not been properly or for that matter legally informed of the violations and dangers associated with their water supply.

It’s not a matter of what may or may not be done to try and correct the situation, it’s a matter of what is making so many Paden City residents sick. Why are so many residents having breathing problems and getting all kinds of cancers.

The real question also is what can really be done about it? Will the proposed remedies to the water system really make a difference? If a stripper system is installed, will it be effective and what happens to the chemical once it is removed from the system? Now that we have received contaminated water through our lines, how do we get it out of our lines? Do all water lines in the community need replaced or does it all just go away? I don’t know!

What I do know is the water is not good and it is cancer causing. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com