Our Community After Two Years of Divisiveness and Disinformation
I was finally able to really go canvassing this weekend. Thank you Sue Erzen for getting me going! Knock on the door, step back 6 feet and hope someone answers. It was a beautiful day and very positive experience.
There were quite a few people who were already familiar with the five candidates we were sharing literature on. I had some great conversations with people. Many are very hopeful for a change, a handful of people didn't seem to be aware of what is going on with our current council, one man offered to let us finish washing dishes for him :D
There were two conversations that really stuck with me. I will tell you about the first one. An Elder who has lived in Sequim for 14 years was worried about workforce housing affecting the value of her house and also about the costs of road repairs within her HOA. We had a pretty good conversation about private vs public roads. She promised to read the literature on each of the candidates. I told her to contact us if she had any questions.
A few houses later, I saw her walking up the street towards me. She wanted to know my position on the MAT facility. I told her I supported it and why. This isn't the first time MAT has come up when talking to people as a candidate. There is a lot of disinformation in our community about opioid use disorder, the treatment for it and the Tribe in general. My usual response is to ask why they think what they think. It's usually either homeless people will be bussed here to receive services or increase in crime, it's trading one drug for another. I saw a lot of fear.
I am so struck by how easy it is to spread disinformation and the hold it takes. I shared with her the facts I know, but also know they didn't make a difference for her. I have always thought if people just have the facts about issues, they can come to a reasonable conclusion.
We have a lot of work to do.
Four members of the current City Council worked to pulled the plug on the equity and inclusion work happening in our community. They said it was about saving money - while firing the city manager, having to pay out his contract and hiring a new city manager which cost the city at least $250k. Without the support of the city staff, we have struggled to keep this work going. The two equity and inclusion sessions held last spring were well received. The information gathered in those events helped us lay out a plan to continue the work. For the past two years there has been so much divisiveness and disinformation, we need to do the work to address this so we can move forward as a community. We need to celebrate our differences but understand we have more in common than differences.