A civic red flag

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The Cedar Park City Council was right about one thing – a flag matters to the city’s residents.

The city has found itself in a mess of opinions and critiques in response to the public unveiling in early December of the new Cedar Park flag, but the outcry of dissatisfaction and overwhelming amount of second-guessing of the process raises a big red flag about our civic priorities.

As residents and taxpayers in Cedar Park, do we really care about this issue most?

Public hearings come and go at most council meetings without as much as a cough to break the silence before the gavel falls and the council moves on to the next item of business.

The council decides your municipal tax rate each year, choosing to increase it for more revenue or decrease it behind money saved on services being trimmed. When these tax rates are set, the law mandates public hearings. Time and again there are few, if any, voices present from the community.

Raise a flag people don’t understand or like, though, and speakers line up out the door to complain or question the wisdom of such a choice.

This is how it has always been in nearly every city, but it never ceases to amaze. How can we be so easily triggered by things so less important in the big picture, and indifferent to the most critical decisions?

Cedar Park residents are fairly fortunate. The council and city staff generally do a good job of representing the best interests of a majority and seeking out the common good. Drive around town and see that Cedar Park is a well-managed, fast-growing place that is safe and comfortable to live in. 

But even with that level of comfort, is it acceptable to reserve our engagement to such limited, emotional issues?

Could the city have selected a flag in a different manner? Sure. But for this issue to draw so much criticism while other issues earn no interest at all is disheartening.

Civic participation is critical to civic success, and some of it should be spent on the nuts and bolts of how our city is run. The flag waving, pomp and circumstance is great, but it only gets that shine with hard work on what’s underneath.

If you are proud enough of Cedar Park to worry about the image portrayed by a flag, take your civic duty seriously enough to put time and energy into more than waving that flag – or clamoring for its replacement.

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