There are usually two sides to every story

This week's Hammertime discusses the importance of looking at two sides of the story.

While serving for five years on the Ponoka and District Recreation Board and nine years as a member of the Ponoka Town Council quite a few years ago, I quickly found out, as did my fellow members and councillors, that there will always be a great many year-round challenges for all of our elected officials, boards, administrations and staff to deal with. After receiving all the information from all sources as well as community input, they are required to make the important year round decisions on proposals, plans, budgets, and other issues that will hopefully result in the best possible and financially feasible operations, health and safety, facilities, infrastructure, and family lifestyles of our community. Later, as the editor of both local newspapers I once again realized, often with much anxiety, that while pursuing and completing an important article, editorial and opinions concerning our town and county and many others that all bases of information need to be covered, and that in most cases that there are usually two sides to every issue and story.

I will assure you all that as far back as there have been town and county councils, boards and all the rest, those major and minor decisions were made with a whole lot of study, input, and preparation before they went to the vote. When the facts are later reported in the local newspapers, in all cases, there will always be mixed emotions, opinions, and questions from the town and districts, which, of course, are the rights of all of our faithful taxpayers. So many of us who were or are now required to approve or decline those countless important plans and proposals in motion will be asked the next morning at the coffee shop or the office whether we voted with our ‘heads or our hearts’, while receiving accolades from many, being cussed by some, and fielding questions from everyone. The following week there may be the usual very interesting and often hot ‘Letters to the Editor’, but unfortunately ‘hearsay’ spreads like wildfire throughout a community and usually focuses mostly on the negatives, and then there will always be those who love to create controversy long before an issue gets to the council tables.

It is very important that before we criticize and place all of the blame on our elected officials, board members, administrations, or anyone else for decisions made that we may not agree with, perhaps we should seek out all the facts from all aspects of the issue at hand. All of us are blessed with the freedom of speech, and just like the voting process, we have every right to go out and find answers and information on community issues by getting in touch with our councils, boards, and administrations. Also please feel free to approach those in and around the community who put their lives on the line to serve the public, are affected by these vital decisions, and really deserve to be heard. Once we have got ‘the rest of the story’, we can then form our opinions on the issues with a fair and open mind, and are encouraged to share it with others.

All governing bodies and leaders must strive to base their major decisions, direction, and planning, not for power and control, but for the absolute benefits and opportunity of each and every citizen of all ages and walks of life, now, and into the future. Wouldn’t a lot of problems be solved if we talked to each other instead of about each other?

Have a great week, all of you.