Editorial: The reawakening civic consciousness
After over a decade in dormancy, the Port Jefferson Civic Association was resurrected Monday, Jan. 9.
PJCA joins the vibrant civic community throughout the TBR News Media coverage area. From Port Jefferson Station/Terryville to Three Village, Mount Sinai to Sound Beach, Centereach to Selden, and Smithtown to Huntington, civic associations work to improve this area continually.
Civic associations perform a critical public service. We often find powerful and monied interests run roughshod over ordinary folk. With their legal teams, public relations personnel and deep pockets, these special interests often do as they please — with the tacit or even express approval of local politicians.
But who is there to represent the citizens? Who ensures that the people are heard and that their will is implemented by local government? The civic associations.
In our democracy, the people are sovereign. The people empower the politician to carry out their will. But this is often not the case as politicians sometimes advance their own agendas out of a sense of grandiosity and self-importance.
A well-organized civic association serves as a valuable check on power. Through its members, the civic body comes to represent the shared values and interests of the community, directing local officials toward more representative policy outcomes.
Some of the best-informed and most engaged citizens are civic members. For this reason, they offer valuable feedback to local politicians. Civic associations, therefore, benefit and enhance local government.
Moreover, a civic association is a platform for residents to stay up to date and informed on local topics such as future planning, development proposals and redistricting. Through this forum, members can exchange ideas, debate pertinent issues and identify potential solutions.
We hold that a bottom-up approach is necessary. Power, policy and vision should come from the people, not the politicians. Through the discussions at civic meetings, elected representatives can carry the people’s collective vision into fruition. The civic-centric model represents the ideal of local governance.
The staff of TBR News Media congratulates the members of the Port Jefferson Civic Association. We look forward to following their work and the continued successes of civic groups throughout our coverage area.
For those who are not affiliated with a local civic, we highly encourage you to join. Now is your opportunity to get involved, to make your voice heard and to leave a positive mark on your community.