Better Than The Soaps

As sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…

When I was little, my great aunt loved soap operas. She called them her “stories”. I would visit her in the small trailer where she lived back then, and I recall the musty scent, the dark paneling and the little black and white TV where her “stories” brought some sort of alluring magic into her aging life. At about five or 6 years of age, I couldn’t think of anything more boring. The droning of the melodramatic music and characters just made me want to escape outside so I could play.

When I became a junior or senior in high school, General Hospital became all the rage among my friends.

I got sucked in, despite the overly dramatic quality that soap opera characters always embodied. It became a “must watch” with everyone I knew. We made sure we were home on the couch with our homework at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon (the homework was a cover in case Dad came home and caught us wasting our life on TV) and we were completely caught up in Luke and Laura and the scheming behind the scenes that always threatened to break up their compelling relationship.

Today, “the soaps” have changed, morphed and moved on to yet a new cultural low, but they are merely a new version of the same old scenario. Amped and provocative, they draw record viewership with the antics on display.

If you are one who loves the soaps or the new versions thereof, and you enjoy kicking back for an evening of drama, intrigue, or maybe just some Laurel and Hardy gags or even perhaps some sheer pandemonium, well, then, do we have the show for you! Sometimes it’s pure entertainment.

It’s called the Lake Park Town Commission Meeting and admission is free. You can even step up to the mic, speak your mind to the town leadership and the public. Some have earned their own three minutes of fame (or notoriety) in so doing. Come and rub elbows with your neighbors, (and lots of town employees, it seems), and watch the process that sets the tone of our town.

Because, like me maybe you’ve driven down the street and wondered what ever happened to this or that or see things that just leave you curious because they make no sense. Maybe you find yourself longing for a time and place that Lake Park seems to have been in a hurry to leave behind in some progressive quest to “move forward” with an agenda that many on the commission and within the town staff have adopted.

Shouldn’t you be aware of who these folks are who are making decisions and discover what they are creating for you by way of their votes? All you have to do is listen for a few meetings to get a sense of who believes what and the means by which they intend to get their way. It might well change your mind as to what you want to do with your own vote next time there is an election.

And as the title of this post indicates, far from being boring, commission meetings really are sometimes better than the soaps. And it turns out, they portray a real life drama about YOU. It’s all rather personal, really, because whether you know it or not, the commission is discussing the street where you live. They are discussing how to spend what you earned and what kinds of impositions to make upon you through rules and regulations, permits and fees and choices about things like seizing private property and re-zoning and foundational premises, which in the end, come down to you and your personal and property rights. And the town decisions have been known to provoke more than a little drama. You really should experience it at least once, shouldn’t you? After all it is your town. You never know… like me with General Hospital, you might find it intriguing.

As you now know from yesterday’s post, some in town are “begging” for help to get grant money “in your name” behind the scenes, and those grants if procured come with a financial and foundational cost. They create the ground we will walk upon at some future date.

Who knows what we may find ourselves stepping on in the months and years to come as we discover with what they’ve paved the road beneath our feet.  The land mines of “gifts” our town goes after and the decisions they make today will dog our steps. They may make for fancy footwork being necessary in days to come.

It’s tricky business, and we are seeing even today, through this Marina grant controversy regarding the recent parking lot purchased with a $2.4 million grant (see recent posts on this subject), that such decisions are quite complicated, quite significant to all of us, and they put our finances at risk, just for starters. Heaven only knows on top of all that how much money has been and will be spent by the town on paperwork, wasted time, legal fees, and on and on because of this one decision alone. Such choices lead to much more than the glorious goodies we are told with excitement, at the outset, that we’ll get for free just for the asking. We will always get more than what we asked for with such deals, and usually the extra baggage will not make for a pleasant trip as we move on down the road.

Some of those in Lake Park leadership are wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to influence congressmen and county and state representatives on issues you may or may not agree with. Someone you elected is voting for or against, or pushing to bring into your life via their seat on the dais, matters of importance to you. They are setting the stage for the way you relate to the place in which you live, and if you open the doors of town hall, step inside, and have a seat, you may see that much of what’s been done (supposedly on your behalf and with your money) is not at all, in fact, what you believe government is meant to do.

A great group of caring townspeople have been bearing the weight of watching the proceedings and holding the leadership accountable for quite some time. In their quest to protect their homes and livelihoods from poor decision-making, they have uncovered behind the scenes decisions and processes that are affecting you and your little town.

So why not pull up a seat and join them and other neighbors tonight and enjoy the show! After all, it’s your story. Make it a good one!

It’s a live performance too, so why watch on T.V. when you can witness the drama live and in person. Please be there tonight at 7:00!

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