Selmont citizens council is encouraging for future

Published 8:03 pm Friday, July 25, 2014

Since the beginning of American civilization, free speech has been a basic human right.

It was etched into our nation’s history officially in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

All but one of the rights granted in the first amendment are being actively exercised in Selmont residents’ push to establish a concerned citizens council and its encouraging to see so many residents who feel compelled to improve their community.

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Each city and community has its issues, but in some cases, residents are either concerned about potential backlash for expressing their opinion or apathetic.

It’s also encouraging to see public officials support Selmont resident efforts so openly. It’s a sign that the local, elected representatives of Selmont are concerned about residents’ needs.

Truthfully a concerned citizens council won’t be able to actively enforce or change laws. Without incorporation, Selmont can’t create it own ordinances. Rather, Selmont residents would have to bring petitions and concerns to the Dallas County Commission. The city of Selma also has a small amount of jurisdiction over Selmont, as the community lies within the police jurisdiction.

Regardless, each community needs a place to gather and talk. It doesn’t need to be about any problem in particular. Rather, by simply talking to neighbors or a person three blocks down the street, Selmont residents can help to figure out common problems and find a solution.

Some of Selmont’s problems, as described by residents, are trash, crime, inadequate lighting, rough street surfaces and a potential bar locating in the community. Some of the problems are great and will certainly require government help, but a significant amount of the issues, such as the bar, trash and crime, can be addressed by simply expressing an opinion.

The first amendment is a powerful tool and we’re encouraging to see Selmont residents trying to make a difference.