When we hear the word “community,” we often think of an area where people come together to solve problems, or a unified group.

In North Rome, there is such a group. We have championed causes such as safety, clean streets and, lately, economic development and housing. In this community approximately 70% of the homes are rental, and we want more home ownership.

As well as North Rome, we should, as a city, look at community on a larger scale. One of my pet peeves has been creating tax zones to generate economic development, but it seems that not much attention has been given to that effort.

There is such a thing as a single issue political topic, and this is ours. We as a community should look at every citizen to determine how we can improve the quality of live for everyone. We have food deserts in parts of our city; we have certain parts of our city that could use some focused effort, and that is not happening.

I feel like the silent voices in our city are suffering from despair, rejection and neglect from those who have the positions to address these concerns. I believe that capturing these silent voices and mobilizing them to the polls will make a difference.

It is easy to become complacent when we think we have achieved some measure of success. Where I live, I cannot sit by and be silent when there are so many good citizens suffering, and no one seems to care. It’s disappointing, to say the least.

In our community, there are those who get intentionally get involved to champion causes that others take for granted. We, in North Rome are pressing for opportunity zones where businesses and housing are encouraged to locate in underserved communities and receive tax incentives. It is important that there is some kind of stimulus to generate economic development and provide jobs for local citizens.

One of our hot button issues is TAD districts that allow local government to designate areas to improve business opportunity and give tax incentives to locate in impoverished neighborhoods. This is a struggle, because North Rome is prime for this kind of effort but it seems that TADs are cherry picked for certain communities, and that is disappointing.

We must press the moral compass as well as the economic consciousness of developers to take advantage of this designation to improve segments of the community for the whole community. I believe that there are benefits in doing so in North Rome, since it is the gateway to our city.

A community thrives when we all get involved for the same goal, a better quality of life. Communities support each other and consider the benefits for the least of those who have no voice.

The most valuable tool we have as a community is our vote, which, in my opinion, is greater than gold when it comes to politics. Our votes send a message that what concerns us is why we place elected officials in office, and they should reflect our opinions.

Communities should reflect decisions made that show a tangible difference in the way neighborhoods look, and right now that is not happening.

We, in North Rome, can mobilize voters on particular issues that are important to us, and what is important to all neighborhoods. Decision makers, take note: this next local election will be a referendum on how you have done with the privilege you were given to impact the quality of life in communities you represent.

Let’s raise our consciousness level, neighbors, on how your life has improved since your elected leaders have been in office. Community, in the true since of the word, will hold them accountable.

Charles Love is co-chair of the North Rome Community Action Committee and a founder of One Community United.

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