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Accountability starts with the People, city councils | GUEST COMMENTARY
By Sam Bellomio
What are we going to do about the way things are working out? How do we wrangle political force back from the elusive economic monoliths that operate along their own self-interest? What will we do when we are told we cannot speak, we cannot protest, we cannot dissent and we cannot be free?
The time has come to StandUP, America.
StandUP-America first came to Renton because a City Council member is on a board at King County and represents issues all King County residents face. Second, we were happy to see that Renton has some common sense and allows for people to speak for five minutes to fully explain their concerns.
A concern that should be addressed is King County, which has a unique situation that is seen nowhere else. The King County Council does not allow citizens to freely speak at any committee. These meetings also happen at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in downtown Seattle during working hours, when no other citizens can attend.
In response to StandUP-America’s request to open King County committees to the people, it has been suggested to remove or reduce public speaking time at the Renton City Council meetings. In analyzing the issue, they allow up to six people to speak at the beginning of the meeting. But over the past year, the council has seen only up to four people speaking per meeting.
This was only a trick used by the council to avoid their duties in addressing the pressing concerns that face our society as a whole and to turn the people against StandUP-America.
Cries of “communism” may seem off-base in our capitalist culture – yet is our market truly free? As of now, economic powers have completely infiltrated our political system, making them one and the same entity. This paradigm of “go-about-your-own-business-we’ll-handle-it” runs rampant in our council chambers. This cannot continue.
The time has come to StandUP.
Right now, we see that power trickles down from the federal level of government. From there it falls to state, then county, and finally, the city which ultimately tells the locals what they can and cannot do. We approach the Renton City Council because this way of thinking has brought our nation to the verge of total collapse. The federal government is not working for the people; in fact, it can no longer function effectively at all. The power structure has been turned upside down, with the People at its base – simultaneously holding it all together, yet pushed into the ground. The People must check the accountability of our representatives on every level.
The City Council, culturally closest to the population they work for, must then check the county to ensure transparency and accountability, county to state, and state to federal.
It is time for our elected officials to work on our behalf again. Allowing citizens into the idea creation phase of an ordinance is what a free society allows. Renton City Council should be fighting alongside its citizens to demand this accountability at King County, not fighting those who seek justice.
The question is: why are they fighting this responsibility? Visit www.StandUP-America.us to read more about other issues.
Sam Bellomio is vice president of StandUp, America.