The time for marching in America is over. Now activists must embolden the people to dream of governing—and policing—their cities.
The plan starts with a neighborhood movement of People's Associations that spread from block to block. Then these populist micro-movements put forward candidates for city councils and mayorships, propelling the people into power this November.
We're testing this strategy in Nehalem. I am running for Mayor. Give it a shot. Establish a People's Association in your city, too.
The status quo might be able to stop one of us; it will never be able to stop all of us.
Here is the open letter that I sent today to the people of Nehalem:
My name is Micah White. I live happily in Nehalem with Chiara, my wife, and Zia, our baby son. I’m writing to you today to announce that I am running for Mayor of Nehalem and to encourage you to run for city council, too. Our city needs us!
Like everyone who has chosen to make Nehalem his or her home, my wife and I live here because Nehalem is special.
In fact, there are not many communities like Nehalem left in America.
America is changing. And, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, Nehalem is changing too. That is why I am concerned about the future of our city.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
I’m concerned because the majority of our city council—four out of five—were not elected by voters: they were appointed to their current positions by decree. And the fifth councilor was selected after an uncontested election where voters were given no alternatives. Fortunately, these are good people, good neighbors and friends of us all. I applaud them for their service. They’ve done their best. But that does not make them the best leaders for Nehalem.
Sadly, the undemocratic process of appointments has fostered a city council culture that is unresponsive, unimaginative and unprepared for navigating our city into the future.
I’ve talked to far too many Nehalem residents who’ve complained to me that they feel uncomfortable walking into our City Hall to ask questions. Or they feel their ideas for how to make our city better are not taken seriously by councilors. This is unfortunate. Worse, it is dangerous.
Our city cannot prosper if you are not consulted, or listened to, by your city council.
Nehalem needs a city council that is actively engaging all residents—writing them letters, if need be—to come up with solutions to the problems we face: the need for affordable housing, clean water for our growing population, food for every child, smart jobs so that the kids who grow up in Nehalem can keep living in Nehalem, a long-term vision that protects what is special about our city for the next 100 years… And above all, a plan for establishing a city council that is responsive to residents.
The good news is that there is a solution: you. Yes, you are the solution to all the challenges facing Nehalem.
This November four out of five seats on the Nehalem City Council are up for election. I am running for Mayor and I urge you to step forward and run for city council.
I also invite you to join the Nehalem People’s Association, a newly formed neighborhood movement to give all residents of Nehalem a voice. In our first meeting—on August 7 at 4pm in the NCRD’s Riverbend Room—we will talk about the latest plans of a developer and city council to build a large commercial building on the corner of H St and Hwy 101. We will also discuss your vision for Nehalem’s Next 100 Years.
I hope to see you at our Sunday, August 7 meeting at 4pm in the NCRD’s Riverbend Room. And, most of all, I hope you’ll run for city council. Instructions on how to do so are included in this letter.
Together, we can do better—we can make Nehalem great.
Micah White Founder of the Nehalem People’s Association and candidate for Mayor of Nehalem
Kick this open letter to your activist network:http://micahmwhite.com/nehalem
Dig deeper into the Nehalem People's Association:http://peopleofnehalem.org/