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Turlock City Council collaboration: Courtesy or more chaos?
Jeffrey Lewis

Turmoil in the local city government is not new to Turlock. In many respects, it has become the status quo because of an overall lack of vision, transparency and collaboration. Hopefully, the City Council's new members will join the three remaining Council members and celebrate a new era of openness, cooperation and exemplary government commitment.

The City Council's window to demonstrate a new era of collaboration and openness will be short. Taxpayers are already angry and frustrated with roads full of potholes, a lack of transparency on the city's finances, and a firm desire to understand how Measure A will be spent.

What we do not want, or need, is greater fear and uncertainty.

The City of Turlock and its executives have a unique opportunity to stop the unprecedented race to the bottom and focus on the community's most critical issues: road repairs, families in need; access to affordable healthcare and medications; and jobs.

And while some will argue that homelessness belongs in this discussion, we must first ensure that organizations serving the homeless come forth with a single strategy for change. Today that does not exist. 

As many of us recall, government was once an inspiring place of grand ideas and magnanimous spirit. Today, though, what passes for debate more closely resembles a disheartening hotbed of moral uncertainty and confusion.

We must be mindful of the importance of openness and dialogue. Disagreement once opened opportunities for robust discussion, which might ultimately lead to consensus, or at least to an attempt to find it through respectful debate.

While we all have opinions, we must remember that these are not character flaws. Listening to someone else's views regardless of how lame or radical is part of how democracy works.  While listening, we should ask our elected officials and politicians questions to respond with answers, vision, ideas, and explanations.  The times of merely saying or voting "no" can no longer be accepted if we wish to return to the era of dialogue, discussion, and disagreement.

Turlock is a community of great pride and history. It has always rallied around those in need.  As the number of people and families in need grows, giving someone a hand up, not a handout, is critical to our future as a community and nation.

Civility and leadership are the fabric that holds our nation together. Divisiveness can rip a community to shreds. Our leaders on the left and the right must rise above personal and partisan agendas to find solutions to our problems here at home.  In a town with small coffers our integrity must lead us forward.

The need is great, and our political leaders' opportunity to demonstrate a vision and actionable plan are now.

— Jeffrey Lewis is the President and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment in Turlock. He can be reached at The views expressed here are his own and not those of the Foundation.