Went to the Mid-City Neighborhood Council meeting last night at the invitation of my friend Michael Sonntag, the president of the council. Was my first time attending one of these meetings, so didn’t know what to expect.
Two contradictory thoughts on the meeting:
1. The business of local government is small-bore in the extreme. What I mean is that the council was dealing with problems on literally a block-by-block level: The pavement at the corner of La Brea and 20th St., free tree planting, chasing illegal vendors off Rimpau, etc. There was no grand policy being made.
2. Local government is incredibly inspiring. Here was this group of people, many of whom certainly have other things to do, volunteering to spend their time on improving the neighborhood. It was democracy at its absolute finest, with local considerations being heard and resources allocated according to the wishes of the citizens.
Sometimes, I complain about local government. It’s often slow, overly bureaucratic, etc. But, at the end of the day, and unlike more autocratic systems where things get done faster and more easily, our system responds to the will of individual citizens. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternatives.