A SMALL WATER DISTRICT serving a tiny community in the Sierra foothills finds that its income doesn’t cover its costs. A plebiscite is placed before voters regarding a rate increase. It fails. Unable to make ends meet, the district manager shrugs: “Maybe we’ll have to close up shop.” Howls of protest follow. “This is just another example of big government taking our money!” “The unions sold us out!” [The water district employs six (6) people.] “The board members forgot where they came from!” “You’re just punishing the voters for telling you no!”
Never in a position to garner all the facts or see the entire big picture, some ratepayers demand a more responsive board. They demand Board change. Again. And again. And again.
IN A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY, here’s how it works: As the electorate, we pay the elected to grasp the big picture. We understand and accept that the big picture is not something we have the advantage or privilege of seeing. Truth be told, we don’t want to see it. The big picture is often just too damned complex – except in the example of the water district where it’s pretty damned simple. Never-the-less, we expect our elected representative to get the big picture and then to make choices based upon the big picture.
|(c) California State History Museum|
Church of the Open Road Press