What is politics and why should I care? For me, it all started a few weeks ago when I became interested in supporting a tax referendum. On August 2, Holland residents will vote on a millage for Holland City Fiber to install city-wide fiber optic infrastructure for the City of Holland.

The open-access, community-owned network means Internet service providers, including streaming services can provide their services over the network, much like anyone can use the streets in the community. It has been found to significantly lower the cost of access to the Internet by providing competition for what is often one or two providers. By being locally owned and controlled the BPW can provide fast reliable service and quick response time to any service issues.

This being my first foray into the political arena, I was surprised when a well-funded opposition started running a “vote no” campaign against the community initiative.  I was politically naïve to the extent to which a profit-motivated organization would go to protect its monopoly.  Power and money have lined up against us with a misinformation campaign, well-written editorials, postcards, and other tactics yet to unfold.  Their well-funded effort is designed to cause fear, and uncertainty and not to inform the voters of the choices.  Most surprising to me was the extent that the shadow public relations firms will go to win or, in this case, defeat the referendum.

Enough ranting, time to roll up my sleeves, take the gloves off, and go door-to-door. I wrote my first “Letter to the Editor” last week (yet to be published) and began delivering Yard Signs. As we get closer to the Aug 2 vote, I will be part of a door-to-door effort to explain the need and ask for their “yes” vote. In the meantime, I’ve even enlisted the help from our Wizard of Oz characters at our local library.

I’ll have an update later this summer on the outcome of the vote!