This past week Raleigh City Council held its annual retreat. During the retreat we learned the results of a formally conducted Citizens survey. More than 90% of Raleigh’s citizens rated the City as a good or excellent place to live. And citizens view Raleigh as one of the safest communities in the Country.
Now that the retreat is over, I would like to reflect on some of what makes Raleigh such a great City. To begin are Raleigh’s Citizen Advisory Councils.
Raleigh has a unique, long standing institution known as the Citizens Advisory Councils (or CACs). There are nineteen CACs in Raleigh serving nineteen different geographic regions of the City. They meet regularly at locations convenient to their region. All citizens are invited to attend and participate in those meetings to discuss matters of the day and matters affecting the lives of those who live in the area served by the CAC.
The vision of the Citizen Advisory Councils is “A better City through citizen participation.” Two key actions of the CACs are:
- Advise the Raleigh City Council on matters affecting the well-being of the citizens
- Communicate its views on relevant matters to the City Council and other governing boards, agencies, institutions and officials
Communication is not a one-way street. Communication is a dialog between Citizens and their elected officials. I attend numerous CAC meetings to hear the concerns of citizens, to ask questions, to answer questions, and to share my own thoughts and opinions about those matters that are important to my fellow citizens.
I ran for City Council because at the time I felt that some on Council were veering away from Citizen participation. I ran on the promise to not make decisions in a vacuum. That is why I attend Citizen Advisory Council meetings and that is why plan to continue to attend during my tenure on City Council.
I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other. — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.