Your attendance is requested

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By Meaghan Downs

I’m an expert in attending meetings.
And you should be, too.  
Contrary to common knowledge, things happen at those public meetings.
I know that’s a pretty big shock. You might want to sit down for a moment.
Money exchanges hands, new policies and ordinances up for review and passage.
I should know. I write about them.
As a token of my goodwill toward our newsreaders, I won’t gloss over the glaring fact that these meetings don’t possess the entertainment value of, let’s say, a Super Bowl halftime show.  
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.
As citizens of the world, we’re too often happy absorbing our information through sound bites or top ten lists.
What else would explain the phenomenon of videos going “viral,” an allusion to the quick infection of short clips of information?
You don’t see that happening with in-depth studies of the city’s economic development, tax rates set by the library board or discussion of area for inclusion in the proposed historic district.  
For good reason.
These are complicated topics that take often take several meetings, and sometimes, several months to unpack completely, to exhaust all discussion and explore all options.   
I can only imagine that many of our elected city and county representatives wish an issue could be explained in the time it takes to type a Twitter update.
It would be a disservice to reduce city and county agendas to such simplified terms for our easy consumption.
Take the historic district commission’s first public hearing, for example.
Letters about a public hearing were sent out to all property owners of the proposed area and their adjacent neighbors, probably affecting less than 2 percent of Lawrenceburg’s population.
At first glance.
But the establishment of a historic district in Lawrenceburg will have consequences that reach much farther than Main Street, for better or worse.  
A historic district may involve changes in zoning regulations, tourism possibilities and property values, to name a few.
I wasn’t born and raised in Lawrenceburg, but I was born and raised to care about the issues and policies that affect where I live.
And it’s disappointing to me that few others were brought up the same way.
I don’t expect the residents of Anderson County to attend every single public committee meeting or work session.
I do, however, expect informed people who base their opinions on observable fact, rather than complaining about the consequences of a meeting they didn’t bother to attend.
It’s our town. Invest in it.