The Revolution Continues in Woonsocket
Various considerations may intervene, but I’m going to try to make it to tonight’s meeting of the new Woonsocket Taxpayer Coalition at 6:30 p.m., on the second floor above the Vose True Value on Cumberland Hill Rd. Representative John Loughlin was at the initial meeting, and he tells me that it’s an exciting thing to watch these groups take shape, forming organizational structure out of gangs of upset taxpayers.
At this point of formation, it’s critical to instill certain principles into the inchoate group’s culture. Perhaps the two most important are:
- Limit goals to areas of broad agreement. Factionalization can collapse reform groups more effectively than opposition and give that opposition fissures to exploit. The idea is to begin the process of reform and to point in the right direction; the group should not strive to determine every policy, but to get residents and leaders thinking in the right way.
- Information is your friend. Get as much information out to the public as possible. That includes statements and actions taken at government meetings and such. Even if nobody appears to read a Web site or newsletter, it’s important to have a medium through which to make information public; the fact that voters might read something will have an effect on those in power. And if a particular fact is unhelpful to your cause, then your cause should be adjusted to take it into account.
These two suggestions point to a single underlying principle: trust. Trust that the system can work and that people can come to the right conclusions when the information is available and the arguments are presented.