Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Civic Duties

Well, it's that time of year that comes around every two years that I have called the Silly Season for a long time.  It's silly because some of the things candidates do and say can be downright silly or at worst misleading.  So how do you navigate through all the silliness and come up with an intelligent decision?

First, you need to decide what your core values are.  What do you believe?  An example is what do you want your local government to focus on?  What should be their focus?  I believe that government should focus on the following:

  1. Well-run utilities.  City Water, Sewer, Sanitation should all be run at high standards.  We pay fees to make this happen so there really is no excuse for a City to let these services run down.  Maintenance should not be an issue, we pay for that too.
  2. Police and Fire that are adequately funded to do their duties in as safe a manner as possible.  They should have staff that's capable of performing their function to allow us to know those service are available when we need them.
  3. Well-maintained streets.  Streets are the arteries that allow the city to function.  As they deteriorate so do services and economic growth.  Businesses pay attention to things like whether their employees can get to work on time, if emergency services can get to the location in a timely and professional manner, and can property be protected and possibly saved.  Streets are the baseline for these questions.  If streets are in disrepair, it points to a poorly run city that most businesses don't want to deal with.
So, what do you do once you decide what is important to you?  You need to look at the current officials.  
  • Are they doing the job they should be?  
  • Is the state of the city good?  
  • Are your taxes fair for what you get?
If you don't like what you find you can run for office or you need to look for a candidate you believe can do the job.  That's it.  Simple but not easy.  Get educated on your city.  Often just a drive through town to see what it really looks like will tell you a lot.  Things you may see are:
  • New development that looks beautiful while older parts of town deteriorate.
  • New roads in great shape while older streets have no maintenance done what-so-ever.
  • A heavy feeling when you have to go to the city for business (i.e. staff appears haggard or snippy).
Maybe you'll see just the opposite.  It depends on how well the city is run.
The word duty means a mandatory task.  Yes, being involved in your city is a duty not a privilege.   Voting is a duty not a privilege.  It's our civic duty to educate ourselves and vote our true beliefs.  Don't vote for someone because they look good or are likeable.  Vote for someone because you have FAITH they will do what's best for the city.  Invest in your city, it can be stellar.  Stop being a drag on the city and step up.  VOTE.  If you do want to run for city offices, the deadline is Sept. 6 at 5:00pm.  Step up, time is short.