Published: 2:46 pm, Sun. Mar. 4th, 2018Updated: 2:44 pm
This year’s ballot is the most crowded the community has seen in years. Every city council seat up for grabs is contested, and only the position of mayor will be unopposed.
Civic involvement is an admirable goal. It takes a certain kind of person to devote the time and energy necessary to tackle the issues that accompany the day-to-day operation of a community, even one as small as Artesia.
When sailing is smooth, as it most commonly is in this city, there are still behind-the-scenes decisions to be made. And when a snag is hit – as the community learned during the oil and gas downturn, E. coli incidents, and even now, as the municipality prepares to file suit against the state over funds that are vital to keeping its budget on
track – those decisions can be exceedingly difficult to make.
Couple that with the fact some residents expect people who were
simply their neighbors, friends and colleagues prior to adding the
title of councilor to instantly become experts on the above subjects,
and you’ve got a responsibility that is not only taxing but stressful,
Holding a council seat is not a two-night-a-month job. Councilors
are also members of the local governmental subcommittees, such
as Finance or Police and Fire. They attend those meetings in order
to hash out the finer points of an issue and make an informed
recommendation to their fellow councilors, which in turn keeps
regular council meetings from stretching on for hours.
They sometimes attend meetings of Artesia’s various commissions,
as well. As councilors, they’re expected to make time, when possible,
to attend and show their support for as many community events as
Their agendas are much thicker than the two- to three-page
timetables provided to the public at council meetings; they’re filled
with the minute details of matters intended to be discussed more
broadly – and, thus, concisely – at the meeting, and they’re expected
to have familiarized themselves with those details prior to joining
together on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
And then there are the retreats, during which the council typically
spends three full days addressing the city’s most significant concerns,
such as the annual budget.
Council members always have specific ideas or “pet projects” in
mind, be they their own or suggested by constituents, that they’d like
to see implemented, but they learn quickly there simply isn’t always
enough money to go around. They subsequently learn to work as a
team to address the dire needs first while leaving as much wiggle
room as possible for the wants.
It’s all of this Artesians need to keep in mind Tuesday when they
head to the polls.
Municipal elections – as they inevitably contain the above-mentioned
friends, neighbors and colleagues, along with family
members, old schoolmates, and the like – can often become a
popularity contest. Enthusiasm is a plus, but is there a solid base of
knowledge, comprehension and pragmatism behind it?
Take the time today and Monday to give thought to what you
believe are the city’s greatest challenges right now and in what
direction you’d like to see Artesia proceed. Then cast your ballot
Tuesday for the person you feel has the tools necessary to help solve
those problems and pave that path.
If you missed the Daily Press’ coverage of last month’s council
candidate forum, you can find it online at artesianews.com. Just
search “council candidates” and click the article posted Friday, Feb.
And above all, don’t sit the election out. More than any other ballot
you cast, that of a municipal election carries with it a direct effect on
the place you call home and your day-to-day life therein.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, and voters
can choose the polling site of their choice: the Senior Center or Faith
See you at the polls, Artesia!