When did “the City” become a bad word?

I was in a convenience store with my daughter this week. My ears perked up as the cashier’s discussion with the customer in front of me got my attention. Their conversation was centered on road construction and the changes coming to the area.

My ears perked up to see what their impressions were, and I thought to myself, this is a productive discussion. For one, they know there is something happening…and they care enough to discuss it.

My view of the conversation turned with the cashier’s comment… “Well the city is re-zoning all that property down by the traffic circle.” Her main emphasis being on the words “the city” like she was ready to march to City Hall with her pitchfork. Her customer quipped back,” well they probably just want to bring another gas station in there.” 

It was a quick reminder on a hot Texas day that public servants are often assumed to be against the average citizen. Much like all those keyboard warriors you see criticizing local spending or construction projects on Facebook groups, it reminded me that some may not believe that we are here to serve. For a moment, I questioned my career choice as I stood in line to pay for my cold drink. It made me wonder:

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So, I reviewed the research to see how the public trust compared across various levels of government and institutions. According to Gallup and Pew results, local government remains the most trusted government level in the United States.

I was encouraged that by and large people still are giving local government the benefit of the doubt. Let’s keep up the good work and strive to protect the public trust. Looking for more content on this topic? Here is a resource for you from Governing.com.

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Published by Bradley Ford

Local government professional in Texas that enjoys discussions on data, analytics, and leadership.

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