July 4, 2017 > Editorial: What does infrastructure have to do with it?
Editorial: What does infrastructure have to do with it?
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that
You can almost hear Tina TurnerÕs plaintive, satirical cry in her 1984 single, ÒWhatÕs Love Got to Do with ItÓ as cities of the greater Tri-City area speak to citizens of the importance of infrastructure in their communities. Ignorance of infrastructure decisions can have some of the same consequences as TurnerÕs cry for help with love. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, echoed by Merriam-Webster, infrastructure is Òthe basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.Ó
Along with Operating Budgets, cities outline a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to maintain, strengthen and improve the infrastructure for residents. For many people, the terms are nebulous, encompassing so many facets of daily life that it is difficult to comprehend. [In the next issue of Tri-City Voice, an interview with Fremont Public Works Director Hans Larsen will explore that cityÕs program.] However, beyond physical structures plainly visible and whose state of repair is obvious, there is much more. Just as a house relies on an unseen strong foundation, wiring and plumbing to remain useable over time, so do our communities. Civic strength and attractiveness is firmly tied to both seen and unseen assets that are not exclusively controlled by one branch of government or government at all: roads, transportation services, schools, parks, churches, hospitals, water quality, sanitation and waste removal, electrical systems, internet services, post offices, dams and reservoirs, museums, performing arts, fine arts, etc.
As different organizations interact to provide the infrastructure necessary for commerce, safety and comfort, it is essential for citizens to pay attention to funding and priorities involved. Although many meetings Ð i.e. city council, planning commission - receive attention, other committees, commissions and independent organizations operate in relative obscurity. Important decisions and recommendations are the result of these meetings; fellow citizens use precious time and energy to deliberate and advise. These meetings occur at a variety of times and places, so even those with tight schedules can find a moment to investigate what is being said and done on your behalf. For almost any interest group, a civic organization meets to discuss and protect your interests. Instead of waiting for events to cause reactions, a visit to observe a committee or organization that shares your interests will allow an early look at situations before they gain momentum and move to final decisions.
The Greater Tri-City area is rising quickly as an important destination for business and pleasure. We have a choice between emerging as an adequate, good or great area. To become great, we have a responsibility to guide our infrastructure toward optimum levels; this can only be done with active citizen participation. Whether interested in social media, recreation, residential development, traffic, air and water quality or myriad of other issues, a visit to the city of your choice, internet or library can provide guidance on where to share your interest and make your voice heard. It is the Fourth of July, our nationÕs birthday. LetÕs celebrate by reviving the true patriotic spirit of participation in civic affairs.
TinaÕs sardonic cry of pain:
Oh what's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
can be reversed when our input is received at the beginning of the decision-making process rather than as a Òsecond hand emotion.Ó Forbes published an article in 2009, ÒWhat makes a City World-Class.Ó It spoke of attributes that already exist or can be achieved in our area. Are we willing to be world-class?