Scene In Passing: Hit slow-mo button; go voice your choice

This Scene In Passing column hits the slow-mo button today, asking anyone within eyesight of these words to pause for the cause of democratic dialogue.

If you didn’t attend one of Carson City’s two town hall sessions Jan. 21 on a capital projects and city sales-tax hike package, tonight offers another chance to be heard. You can lobby for your own view, whatever it is, on the package we’ll describe briefly below. But first let’s talk about the trouble with apathy, opting for the value of advocacy on your own behalf. A couple of quotes get us started.

“We may have found a cure for most evils,” wrote Helen Keller, the blind and deaf author, activist and lecturer, “but we have found no remedy for the worst enemy of them all, the apathy of human beings.”

Keller was the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and a stalwart in the fight against apathy, personal or societal.

“The death of democracy is not likely to be assassination from ambush,” said Robert M. Hutchins, a dean of the Yale Law School and chancellor at the University of Chicago. “It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and undernourishment.”

Success often embraces those who show up. So head to the Community Center, William and Roop streets, at 6 p.m. For the first hour you can ask questions and look at proposed business corridor improvement designs, multipurpose athletic center plans and renderings for an Animal Services shelter.

Much of the package would be funded by bonds, grants and donations, with the bulk of the $29 million price tag being financed via a one-eighth-of-a-penny hike in the city sales tax to service debt. In the second hour, sound off about how you feel regarding the package or any of its parts. It’s your city. Take ownership. Take 120 minutes for yourself and your community.

On Feb. 20, the city’s Board of Supervisors will discuss the plan of expenditure and decide the issue, with a supermajority of four votes required to proceed.

As you already know, it’s entirely your call about showing up tonight. The United States Constitution guarantees such freedom. That guarantee is embodied in another quote, this one from a writer who is a favorite here.

“I believe in only one thing: liberty,” wrote H.L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore. “But I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.”

It wouldn’t hurt, however, to hit the slow-mo button yourself and pause to offer advice about what the city should do. Lobbying isn’t necessarily evil; according to Helen Keller, apathy is.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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