One of the things I highly appreciated about my experience with Huntington, West Virginia’s Create Huntington was it had one rule: no complaining without suggesting a solution. The Chat and Chew sessions held weekly were attended by only a few of the people in the city, anywhere between 4 and 30 people would show up. Some came just to listen to learn what was going on at a grassroots level. Some had specific issues close to their heart and were there to bring them to everyone’s attention.
Some of the ideas gained interest and more people were attracted to the concept and helped it become a reality. It was the way the dog park was established, the way the Wild Ramp Market grew from an idea to a reality in only 5 months, the way volunteers gathered to help build a bike path, paint the viaduct tunnels and so much more.
At a grassroots level people in Huntington decided they were not going to wait for some mystical element in local government to fix the problem. They decided if it bothered them enough, it was worthy of their energy to fix it.
But you need not get down and dirty to have a voice. You merely need to be educated about things that are really going on, who the players are, and then go vote. And then contact the person in the position about how you feel about issues. Yes, they actually do read those letter.