Like other communities around the country that have used a variety of strategies to silence train horns, my hometown of Carroll, Iowa, is home to two Union Pacific lines crossing seven intersections in the Slice. Opinions are divided on whether tax money should be used to reduce noise. of western Iowa.
“It’s one of the constant problems. 50% of people want it, 50% don’t,” said Randy Crouwell, the city’s public works director.
This is consistent with what Bolton & Menck, city consultants on railroad noise, have seen in other cities, Crouwel said.
But unlike so many issues today, in fact, unlike most conversations and topics, using coal and other products, the dozens of daily trains that pass through the carols on their journey across the country The debate over noise from is not far-fetched partisanship.
The discussion here, whether cool or feverish, breaks down the politics of predictable and relentless tribal gatherings. The community is divided by the noise of trains, with advocates and opponents from different social classes, races and political parties.
“They used to say that the natives didn’t like it, but the new people did,” Crawl said.
I’ve lived here most of my life and haven’t noticed train horns. New residents can’t sleep.
All of these lead to a bigger point.
Local government articles, many of which are being lost in the newspaper pandemonium, serve many purposes.
Yes, of course they will inform, but local governments are connecting people on the real benefits of taxpayer-funded actions: which streets to clear first while it snows, where to put new parks How much to invest in incentives to build or fill new homes in vacant or dilapidated places, and yes, in Carroll’s case, instead of conductor-controlled horns, directional train horns Or how much, if any, it would cost to create a quiet zone with more cross protection.
In many cases, Republicans, Democrats, and independents have their own opinions on these regional issues, aside from the influence of, say, an overarching worldview on how deeply government should be involved in our lives. They form coalitions that have little to do with political parties. But it is a blend of local issues and political philosophy, generally rational, most certainly expressed with respect, and a cult of personality that drives both major parties to rafter-level battiness. It’s not politics.
For readers of the Carroll Times Herald, I believe that covering a Carroll City Council meeting is more important than attending a presidential or governor campaign event. I recently skipped a statewide candidate visit to cover a city meeting. .)
Another thing about local news articles is that they’re a degree or two away from the source or issue, so you know if a fact is a fact. Publications and politicians cannot sarcastically create disinformation campaigns in local government articles. Because it will be revealed before the ink dries or the link becomes stale.
There are many lofty stories about how to reconnect a divided country.
It starts with local news at the local level. Citizens gather at City Hall to discuss what they hear, in this case the train horn noise.
When people team up with others of different parties and backgrounds to advocate for local issues, it becomes harder to demonize state and national politics.
But without newspaper articles, local debates are scarce, sending people into the frenzied swamp of social media and ultimately being marginalized for endless rounds of partisan boxing, leaving both sides bloody. and our democracy is on the countdown.
This column was originally published on Douglas Burns’ blog, The Iowa Mercury, and is shared via Iowa Writers’ Collaborative.
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