Your voice does matter, just ask the road commission

Published 9:24 am Thursday, June 18, 2015

It is easy to think that your voice does not matter when it comes to political decisions on both a local and national level.

Oftentimes, we are so far removed from the people making the decisions that we don’t think our opinions will be heard, and, if they are, that they will listened to and considered appropriately.

This notion isn’t always true.

Take Wednesday’s meeting of the Berrien County Road Commission for example.

For the past several weeks, Berrien County residents have been vocally opposed to the road commission’s plan to grind up about 45 miles of “failing” county roads into gravel.

These residents have said they would rather live with potholes than see a machine grind up the roads into a gravel surface that could lead to a decrease in property values.

The road commission has listen to these complaints for weeks and, on Wednesday, they heard even more.

The sheer weight of all this concern caused the commissioners to delay the plan.

The commissioners said they are willing to give local municipalities a chance to come up with a local funding plan (through a millage or otherwise) to pay for a better way to fix the roads.

Their decision was met with a round of applause from the 50 or so people in attendance.

After the meeting, many residents said they were glad they spoke out so loudly against the plan.

If they hadn’t, it is reasonable to assume that the road commission would have gone ahead with grinding up the roads.

After all, members of the road commission are not mind readers. It is hard for them to know what we think unless we tell them. And that’s precisely what Berrien County residents did.

Their voices were heard and their voices mattered.

It is a great example of democracy in action.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.