the sound of silence

and nobody came

The silence was deafening! Tonight’s Columbia Borough School Board meeting of the whole was conducted in front of an audience of ABSOLUTELY NO CITIZENS.

The agenda had been posted at the School District’s Website:

Following information sharing and discussion on the agenda topics, the meeting was concluded in just 49 minutes … there were no citizen comments.

Six years ago, a Columbia news, views and reviews post began, “A fundamental, and beautiful, aspect of representative democracy is that citizens can participate in the governmental process. Citizens elect representatives at all levels of government … local, county, state and federal … to enact the laws that protect them and provide other government services for them. Citizens have the right to petition the representatives and to attend the government hearings and meetings to engage in meaningful discourse about possible legislation.

“It is a fundamental right and responsibility. Citizens must participate in the process; if they do not receive input from the people they represent, elected ‘public servants’ will make decisions predicated on their personal, informed ideas about the legislation they are considering. Hopefully, their decisions will be directed  by a higher sense of benefiting the majority of the citizens they represent.”

True then, true now and tomorrow!

who is to blame

Beyond Distrust: How Americans view their government



  1. You do a great job at reporting Brian. The reason no one goes is because they truly don’t care what the taxpayers have say. You know as well as I questions are not to be asked at meetings. They don’t want to be blind sided. Well guess what that is what they signed up for when they took that seat. I submitted a RTK and it was answered with a statement stating they need to check with the lawyers to see if they can release the public information. It clearly states in the RTK law ” Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the release of name, position, salary,…” and this is what I requested……….nothing more. They must be hiding something why else would they not release what is public record. I guess I will have to appeal it after 30 days of there tactic to avoid my request. Also is there any information on check# 37577 dated 12-23-2016 to Gibbel, Kraybill, and Hess lawyer firm for the amount of $17,500 for a settlement? I don’t recall any discussion on that. Again Brian I would continue to attend the meetings and even fill a seat on the board, but you know they don’t allow people such as myself on the board. I would be for the pupils and taxpayers not the special interest of a few. I have contacted a few state representatives and have not heard anything back, so why wouldn’t the board do what ever they want…..I don’t think anyone cares.

  2. There are many academic publications that deal with mistrust of “elected public servants. One, “Public Administration Reform: Market Demand from Public Organizations” identifies qualities people look for values in their public service representatives. Key is the quality of trustworthiness.

    Trustworthiness and “trust in government” are closely akin. As people perceive distancing and disenfranchisement resulting from the actions or lack of action or responsiveness of those elected or “selected” to serve in positions requiring trustworthiness and trust, they withdraw.

    There’s a really good report about the decline of trustworthiness and trust from the Pew Foundation. Though it focuses on national level elected public servants, it has relevance and application for considerations. You’ll find the report:posted following this article.

    Just yesterday, USA Today had this article: “American public’s trust in government near historic low.”

    People really are feeling powerless as elected public servants continue the distancing.

    The Open Government Foundation claims to promote citizen participation in how laws are envisioned and created and to boost collaboration and openness in governments and communities.” Take a look at the Open Government Website here

    Let’s hope more moderate views can address this trustworthiness gap –

    Let’s work toward trustworthiness and developing trust through transparency and communication.

  3. It is totally discouraging to attend meetings and speak when you see no results. Yes, one can voice their opinions, but it does not seem to change anything. Elected officials have their minds made up long before. We, personally, are turning over about $500.00 a month for the borough and school district to do with as they please. I don’t give that kind of money to anyone else and if I did it wouldn’t be without a ton of questions about its use. The people should be angry and should show up at meetings in very large numbers. It’s so sad and disheartening to feel as if nothing will change. The elected officials have no respect for residents either. I’ve heard the comments made so I know this first hand.

    • Try using the RTK procedure. Hopefully they will answer your questions that way. From now on that is process I will use. Sooner or later some legal support will come to the aid of the taxpayers of Columbia. School board and borough concil are both curupt. Just look how they vote. Unamous 99 percent of the time.

  4. So, last night’s Columbia School Board meeting of the whole should have had it’s last word change to “hole.’

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