HEATHER HOPES: Will the Concerned Citizens Please Rise?


Heather Cathleen Cox

Heather Cathleen Cox

Staff Writer

I read the comments left on the San Benito News website. And some are brutal.

Many San Benitians make allegations against their elected officials – namely the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District’s Board of Trustees or the San Benito City Commissioners. I’m not talking minor accusations, either.

Comparatively, there is an upcoming election in May, where two Trustees and two Commissioners are up for re-election. To my knowledge, in each case the individuals up for re-election are unopposed.

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the same folks spewing allegations behind the comfort of Internet pseudonyms decided to use their disdain as fuel to oppose the same individuals they accuse.

I’m not here to defend or defame any politicians, local or otherwise. However, I will say that it takes a certain kind of personality to endure the battles that often come with a life in the spotlight. One might argue that politicians seek the limelight, which is why they run for election in the first place. But that’s not always true. At least such was not the case for my grandfather, John Brodecky.

My grandfather was somewhat ‘pressured’ into running for Mayor of Rio Hondo a few decades ago, at a time when local happenings were undesirable yet, as elections drew near, no new incumbents arose.

Local people respected my grandfather’s ethics as a local farmer and business owner, and when a few of those same citizens held a meeting among themselves to discuss a forthcoming election, my grandfather’s name was dropped. After a discussion, people decided they would rather stand behind a ‘regular Joe’ with integrity than someone they deemed unethical but who had been groomed for politics. They wanted a leader they respected, and he was it.

Contritely, when approached and asked to run for Mayor, my grandfather was not inclined to agree. While he wanted nothing of the power associated with the title, he did want conditions to improve in his town. He recognized that the torch was lit and had been proverbially passed to him, so he did what he thought was right. It was not without some resistance, but he ultimately he ran and was elected for one term.

A community – not entirely unlike this one – recognized a genuine need for new leadership and they did something about it. My grandfather served his term as Mayor and made several positive changes while in office that led to the betterment of his community. But what if he’d rejected the requests of his fellow concerned citizens? For that matter, what if no one had ‘twisted his arm’ when he was first approached and the idea of obtaining office seemed implausible to him?

What if the same concerned citizens had not held meetings among themselves that led them to decide to approach my grandpa? What if the first person with the idea that John Brodecky was ‘the man for the job,’ had remained silent?

Those who are complaining the loudest – we all hear you. We see you. So why not put some real grit behind that complaint you’re lodging and call another powerhouse citizen, then another, until you’ve gathered three or more likeminded folks who are willing to hold a meeting to pose thoughts, pool thoughts and formulate a plan of action.

It won’t be easy. You may have to ‘twist some arms’ before a goal is identified or reached. But what is your alternative? Proverbs 18:21 says the power of life and death is in the tongue. But words spoken in vain will never evoke change; they only promote negativity. My friend, be careful what you say, and don’t just talk about the changes you want to encounter. Rise up and be that change!

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2015/02/06/heather-hopes-will-the-concerned-citizens-please-rise/

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