The Power of One Voice

by lewwaters

How many times have we heard that one person can’t make a difference? Or, you can’t fight City Hall? Even when it comes to voting, many feel their one lone vote will not make any difference in an election and opt not to vote at all.

The non-actions of the complacent within our country and community is why we now have the lousy government we have and why nothing it getting done, far too many just throwing their hands up and letting whoever sits in office do as they please.

I’m here to tell you that the notion of one lone voice not making a difference is very wrong. One voice is making a big difference out in Battle Ground, Washington. It’s not a major policy shift or anything that will ever make National News, but is an excellent example of how one voice is making a big difference in Battle Ground.

A little over two months ago, a young Democrat and former candidate that I once opposed for office and who I now consider a friend, approached me to ask about an idea he had. It seems a road that sees quite a bit of traffic through neighborhoods has been in disrepair and through several years, nothing was done.

Neighbors complained to each other and may have spoken to the city with no positive response, even though the city was able to obtain “a brand new Community Center, a brand new Flex Use Building, and a brand new car for the city manager.”

His idea was to start an online petition, Fix South Parkway as well as begin covering the sorry state of the road on a small blog site he had started, Mike Check.

Signatures were slowly added and Michael Dalesandro started walking the neighborhood urging others to sign. He organized neighbors to approach City Council demanding something finally be done about the road, even was interviewed.

Democrat, Republican, Independent, neighbors began coming together and complain to the City Council. Mike led them and urged them to spread the word and keep up the pressure on City Council to finally address the disrepair of South Parkway.

Partisan differences were put aside as neighbors came together demanding the roadway be fixed as it should have been years ago, wrote letters to the editor and the city and spread the word.

In a small corner of Battle Ground, Washington, the old America that I grew up in, where the partisan rancor ebbed after an election and we remembered we were all American first shined again as it should.

Mike began his effort in May, almost 2 months ago. Word is that some on City Council were not too pleased as they had other matters they wanted to attend to. But don’t we elect them to represent us and do what is needed to make our communities better?

Regardless of whether or not any of council members were displeased, Tonight, July 16, 2012 will see the Battle Ground City Council begin discussions on “South Parkway Funding Options” where “City Council will be provided information regarding funding options for the reconstruction of South Parkway Avenue between Main Street and Eaton Boulevard.”

Just two months ago, South Parkway wasn’t a blip on the radar of city council.

And tonight begins the process of acquiring and planning to finally fix an unsafe roadway.

All because one man, Michael Dalesandro did not take no for an answer and began speaking out. He didn’t need to protest or occupy anything, just begin speaking to others along the roadway and from his one voice, others added theirs and received the beginning of a much needed action.

One person can and often will make a difference.

5 Comments to “The Power of One Voice”

  1. Thank you, Lew, for helping shed some light on this issue. As we move forward, I call on my fellow Battle Ground citizens to sign this petition. Although the discussion has begun, it doesn’t mean that this is over. We have to let City Council know that past spending habits shouldn’t prevent us from righting this ship and doing what is needed. We can make a difference.

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  2. My son lives on 4th just three houses off S. Parkway. When he moved out there I asked him what was up with that street. He jokingly called it the bummpy road and suggested avoiding it in the preservation of my alignment. Go Mike we need people who will fight these issues.

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  3. 🙂 Why does this remind me of Carolyn Crain, Margaret Tweet and several others….

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  4. Better late than never Mike. Even though you worked hard against my platform in the last election, by deriding me, inferring that I was bought and paid for, and supporting my opponent. It looks like now you’ve decided to adopt my platform in your race for City Council in 2013. Too bad back in 2011, you didn’t take the same tack, and get behind me as I campaigned against the old guard. You however, decided to support the two guys who were a part of everything you now say is a problem with our city.

    As you know, we now have three new council members, along with others on the council who will have to make some tough decisions in the Fall. Speaking just for myself, we are going to have to live within, maybe under our means, this means as you saw last night in our meeting, we do not have 5 million dollars to fix the broken mile that is S. Parkway. We are going to try and formulate a plan in the coming months, to start a road maintenance fund, to work on all the streets that need help in the city. However, the money tree is dead, the golden goose split town, and there is going to be some pain in the city, as we decide what kind of services we can offer, as we suffer from the same economy as our citizens do.

    So hang in there Mike, just as I told the crowd in October at the golf course. I and others are trying our best to be the twice a month nightwatchmen for the city, looking out for everyone that calls our fine little city home.

    See you on the campaign trail,

    Philip Johnson
    BG City Council #7

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  5. Talking about the issue still leaves us with the same issue we’ve had on South Parkway, which I will argue is not the worst street in Battle Ground, I think SE 1St is. Some of claims made are asinine. Com plaints from things like not taking grant monies given for one project and simply shifting them over to another (which is a crime by the way). When a federal or State agency gives you money to build one project (flex building, community center, Scotton Way or Grace Ave for example) you have to spend those monies on the project they designate it for. The simple fact is for road funds South Parkway doesn’t score well. Yes its bumpy, but that’s. The accident rate is really low, its mostly residential, redoing it won’t enhance employment and doesn’t have public facilities on it. North Parkway got funded faster because of the school and safety for kids. Its a project estimated at 5 million dollars and that is a pretty big chunk of change from a budget we have cut every year for the past 5 years. The simple fact is to pay for this either a new tax or fee would have to be put in place. Spending $15,000 to put something on the ballot (which was done in 1997ish and rejected by over 60%) seems like a lot to spend to get an answer. We have been doing all the preliminary work on South Parkway (including all the red tape which is expensive). So we have been getting ready as we can. Despite any claims to the contrary, South Parkway is not a “blip on the radar”, its an issue and has been an issue for years. The idea that people on council simply forget or don’t care about problems isn’t really fair. Its also not the only street that needs help.

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