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A citizenry without the power to recall is a citizenry without power.
We elect our leaders to office in the hopes that they will be responsive to our community voice and they will faithfully represent the hopes and wishes of their constituents above all else, despite outside influences, and their usually deeper than ours, money pockets. We want our leaders to resist the temptation to forget our voices once they get the brass ring of elected office.
When politicians become unresponsive to our voices, in Alabama, with the exception of one city, we have no remedy to remove our politicians from office. Our only recourse is to wait four to six years and elect better leaders. It does not serve any of us to have to wait until a term expires and allow a corrupted, tin ear politician to remain in office and wreak unchecked havoc on our communities.
But for now, that's all we have. That's what we have settled for--nothing.
We could have better and we should, but the citizens of this state are unable, for whatever myriad of reasons, to organize a strong movement for a recall provision to be added to our state constitution. Several attempts have been made over the years. The last one was by Senator Treadaway in 2009.
It died in committee along with our chance to join eighteen other states who realize the great value of having accountable government made possible by the power of recall.
Having a recall provision allows citizens to maintain control over their elected representatives in the instances of malfeasance, dereliction of duty, and sometimes criminal conduct while in office.
Some communities even have provisions that allow for a full vote by the people before any zoning ordinances or changes to existing ordinances can become law. Can you imagine how different some of our communities would be with this kind of citizen based power?
There are three communities in Alabama that would be in much better condition today, monetarily and in livability, if they had recall power:
- Birmingham, Alabama--Millions would have been saved in the sewer debacle.
- Cordova, Alabama--Though their Comprehensive Planning, a new Cordova could become a reality, and years of decline would give way to hope and opportunity for a better future. (And they would have FEMA trailers!)
- Vincent, Alabama--Instead of facing certain industrialization and destruction from a 1000 acre quarry, the original Comprehensive Plan "A Path to the Future" could actually bring Vincent into the future, and keep it from becoming a statistic.
All three of these communities are in turmoil for one main reason--their elected officials are completely and utterly unresponsive to the voices of their constituents. They stepped into their offices, locked the doors of accountability behind them, and turned their backs on the voters.
We as citizens have been unresponsive ourselves. We have failed to strongly organize into one mighty wave of 'we demand change!' Whether it is a lack of interest, political differences or an inability to put egos aside and work as one, we have not done ourselves any favors by remaining so complacent and unwilling to set our minds to a common goal with the potential for such great rewards.
Another session in the legislature is now drawing to a close, and for the second year in a row no recall bill came up. You can't put all the blame on the legislators because of course they aren't going to volunteer to give up any of their power. We, as a people, have to demand it, with persistence and conviction, or we'll never have any power of our own. It's just that simple, but it won't be that easy to make it a reality--It will take very hard work.
It's been said that "the best lessons are the ones that are the hardest ones learned."
Have we got it yet Alabama?
If not now, when?
So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama ConfidentialSubscribe in a reader