There is a street sign by Bill’s Boathouse warning errant drivers of the end of the road and the beginning of the water. Since American Lake fluctuates quite a bit in height there are times when there is scant separation of the ‘warning-water-ahead’ sign and the water itself. The sign certainly is correct as to content, but perhaps not adequate as to intent. Time will tell.
This last weekend the Lakewood City Council held its annual retreat to discuss, among other things, “values… how the council and city make decisions… gambling… the public records act.” These, according to Councilman Walter Neary on his blog, are “all very appropriate subjects,” but given the largest turn-over in council history “it is a bit early,” Neary suggested, to know with any certainty either content or intent with regards any change in Lakewood’s direction. Time will tell.
Speaking of timing, and for that matter warning-signs, the City of Lakewood will mark yet again the annual remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. who is memorialized for leading the civil rights movement comprised of people who made a “proud public show of their convictions,” without whose values of respect and dignity with which all people should be treated, “we as a nation (would) never have the opportunity to be inspired,” (Integrity, Stephen L. Carter).
It is exactly in that order – (1) discernment of personal values; followed by, (2) a written declaration of the same; and then and only then (3) actions and decisions in keeping with those values and declarations even at great personal cost – that we have had such heroes striding across the world stage – Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Cicely Saunders, Aung San Suu Kyi, Edith Cavell, Raoul Wallenberg (Courage, Gordon Brown).
In the July 2007 issue of “Lakewood Connections” – the city’s publication of happenings throughout the community – City Manager Andrew Neiditz quoted the Army’s top officer of a few years ago as saying, “Our values are sacrosanct, but everything else is on the table.” Neiditz then stated, “Our citizens expect and deserve a city government that is ‘value-driven.'”
It is one thing to talk about values, yet another to post those values, but if actions do not support those values, we have little more than a warning sign by the water – true, but watch the follow-through.
Will the Lakewood City Council’s policy decisions – on gambling, public disclosure and like issues with sweeping city-and-even-state-wide implications – reflect values-based deliberations?
Time will tell.