Listen up! Let’s open the lines of communication!
I serve on the Virginia Beach 2040 Community Coalition. Our task is to take the city’s 2040 Vision to the community and assess our progress in meeting milestones along the path to future goals. During our visits with residents across the city, one of the primary concerns raised relates to the lines of communication between citizens and city officials – or lack thereof, and especially when important economic decisions are made.
Virginia Beach residents want their voices to be heard. I can promise this:
The lines of communication will be open for all when I am elected your Princess Anne District representative on City Council.
Too often residents feel they are not heard or respected and that only the special interest groups get the attention of officials. This creates friction when decisions are made with little public input or when members of the public must search for information in order to know more.
Why should residents have to go on scavenger hunts for information about issues that impact their daily lives?
Shouldn’t we be providing information to the public in a myriad of ways in order to reach the largest audience possible? Absolutely – and today’s technology makes this not a matter of way, but a matter of will.
The solution is not small group meetings, barely advertised, and sparsely attended.
The solution is change.
A little over a year ago, Virginia Beach Vision began studying the city’s current communication structure and effectiveness, including the way current marketing messages are sent to out-of-town visitors and businesses. The subsequent report was recently provided to the Mayor and City Manager.
It’s not a surprise that 2 of the report’s 5 action elements focus specifically on residents’ needs for open lines of communication. A concerted effort is urged to get information to citizens about all Virginia Beach has to offer in terms of facilities, resources, and activities.
BUT, any effort to convey this kind of information must be balanced by a like effort to convey information about economic development, land use, and budget considerations.
I believe a better Virginia Beach begins when,
- Lines of communication are realized and shared,
- Residents feel a part of the processes that affect them,
- Discussions reflect the value of the contribution,
- All members take ownership for the decisions made.
You need to be heard. I’m ready to listen.