As the turn of the new millinium approached, there was a general concern that when clocks
turned on New Year's Eve night computers might fail to advance the date to the year "2000"
and could even revert to another date. If this happened, those systems that were date sensitive
might totally cease to function. This included all basic utilities and communications.
In anticipation of a possible temporary collapse of the infrastructure, neighborhood groups
met (some were newly formed) to plan a strategy to deal with those circumstances. They
appointed a central contact person, and designed a plan that allowed them to address the
concerns that might arise. Various people were appointed to supply water, food, information,
and protection... if, and when, they were needed.
Alas, the change of milliniums went without incident. However, this was instructive. These
groups showed themselves to be our first line of defense in the event of a catastrophic emergency.
These neighborhood groups had become a form of "local government." They had created a way
to deal with the reality of being "on their own."
Neighborhood groups are useful in many ways... not just preparing for catastrophe.
They provide a venue in which dependable contact can be made for various other reasons.
Not everyone catches the news when public notices are issued-- for such things as product recalls,
health warnings, proper use and disposal of various chemicals, new laws that are passed that might
affect them, etc.-- but, it is important that an official and correct version of information is dispensed
to the public. And if an extended explanation is needed, or contact information is pertinent, these public
notices would be essential to citizens.
With an established base, these groups could appoint leaders or managers who could even be trained
by the state in order to better manage emergency circumstances, post notices of essential information,
and serve as a contact person for the neighborhood.
This "leader" might even submit monthly reports to their city or county, stating the concerns of the
neighborhood or its citizens. The "city manager" or "county manager" could, in turn, respond to those
concerns in their own monthly contact report back to each neighborhood.
Citizens thus... would have access to their larger government... through their neighborhood
leaders... and could know that their concerns would be heard. Government managers could
develop a better understanding of the concerns of their citizens... and have a way of addressing
Such a program would be the life-line of the larger government to and from the citizens. It
would allow the vital communication of the needs of citizens- in an orderly way- to their government.
It would reassure every citizen that concerns were known and someone was accountable.
Neighborhood managers could also provide access to problem-solving. We shouldn't have to
rely on special reporters in the media to help people resolve stalemated problems that occur.
Managers could be given access to "neighborhood legal advisors" who could help resolve issues
before they are forced into the court systems.
If someone needed help resolving a dispute that a government agency has jurisdiction over, this would
be referred to the agency and a government employee would take measures to resolve it. For there
to truly be "order" in society, there must be a way of resolving problems without having to go through
an ordeal-- or hire an attorney-- to do it.
And isn't that what "government" really is? Isn't it the way that a society chooses to solve its problems?