listen to this

from my computer’s dictionary:

listen |ˈlisən|
verb [ intrans. ]
give one’s attention to a sound : evidently he was not listening | sit and listen to the radio.
• take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request : I told her over and over again, but she wouldn’t listen.
• make an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something : they listened for sounds from the baby’s room.
• used to urge someone to pay attention to what one is going to say : listen, I’ve got an idea.

There is this pervasive and persistent belief in the community that I was not listening during the town centre debates. I’m trying to understand how it could be that I took notes during the discussions, wrote articles and dozens of emails in response to questions and comments… yet, somehow they say, I did all that without listening.

Apparently they believe their knowledge so complete, logic so infallible, that had I only listened to it, I would have agreed with them. How could I possibly form a different opinion?

Besides that disrespect of an individual’s freedom to follow their own opinion, I find it disappointing that they list questions that, they argue, I should have considered before making my decision. In saying so, they illustrate that they, in fact, were either not listening when the answers were presented or were not present/involved/engaged at the time.

This reinforces my belief that I am elected to make decisions on behalf of White Rock citizens, not follow my perception of what the majority opinion might be.

I believe elected councils are like juries — they are provided information, but when it comes time to make a decision, they don’t guess what might be popular with the majority of people in their country — they base their choices on the information they have available to them, their principles and values. They listen to both sides, but in the end, they act on their own judgement.

And here, too, it’s not unusual to see public opinion flaring out in newspapers rejecting a jury’s decision. Yet, very few people actually sit through an entire trial to hear all the evidence and legal considerations. Instead, they assume newspapers and streetside gossip give them all they need for an opinion strong enough to stand on to assail the jury’s judgement.

It is my responsibility to listen to all the information provided. I listened to a vociferous group of citizens and disagreed with their assessment. Everyone presented their facts and perceptions. Considering it all, I arrived at a different conclusion than many other people in the community.

Some say that just proves I wasn’t listening. But I could say the same about them.

So what’s the point of all that? Arguing about whether or not I’m listening doesn’t make for a constructive and effective public conversation.

You may disagree with my vision, principles or priorities for this community, but I’m getting very tired of listening to people tell me I’m not listening.

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