Opinion: Democracy takes work

 

Inyo Clerk/ Recorder Kammi Foote

Inyo Clerk/ Recorder Kammi Foote

On June 3rd, your opinion will make a difference

The filing period for the June 3, 2014 election has passed and several of your neighbors will be asking to represent you in local government.

The power of democracy is fueled by the people who step forward. However, sometimes, there are no choices for voters. Last year there were no contested races in Inyo County  for any of the local Fire, Community Services or Sanitary Boards. The June 3, 2014 election will also have many uncontested local races. Anyone who took the time to declare themself as a candidate will be appointed to the office sought. This occurs in local offices across the nation.

Why?

Great incumbents? Too many unknown offices? Or have we forgotten the significance of serving the community?

According to John Locke, in order for a Representative government to work the people must participate. They must vote, they must run for office, they must voice their visions for our community and “be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them.”

The 2011-12 Inyo County Grand Jury reviewed the process for electing representatives to the more than 30 special districts in Inyo County. The Grand Jury found that “most Special District Board members in Inyo County are appointed due to a lack of volunteer candidates.” Many special districts find it difficult to find even a minimum of five voters willing to serve. Adding to the difficulty is that holding public office can require a tremendous amount of work and can subject the office holder to the criticism of friends and neighbors when unpopular decisions need to be made. Democracy is not easy. It is messy. It takes work and it takes your participation.

Unlike State and Federal government where we citizens may only have the opportunity to vote for someone to represent our community, in local jurisdictions we have the opportunity to be our representatives. It is an opportunity we should never let pass lightly.

Service to your community demonstrates a commitment to a better tomorrow. When people serve, they weigh the interests of the public above their own individual views. Often there are conflicting needs and different interpretations of the law. By participating in your local government you are a contributing to government as envisioned by our Founders.

Our Republic is strongest when everyone participates and there are many ways that you can serve your community besides holding public office. Report for Jury Duty, voice your opinion to your local public officials or volunteer for a charitable organization to see first hand how you can improve things for your community. Together, we can build upon the foundation of our nation’s democratic Republic and create a better tomorrow for our children and our grandchildren.

 

 

One Response to Opinion: Democracy takes work

  1. wagonrd March 15, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    Well said Kammi. Voter apathy is endemic for these local elections. It takes a lot of time and money to attempt to get the voter’s attention. It is discouraging to see the abysmal response. But what we do have is a few angry people who devote their lives to tap, tap, tapping invective on their smart phones; no visible positive efforts to promote their favored candidate, just all negative for the candidate they oppose. Fortunately, they are to busy tapping to vote, Just all smoke and dust.

     

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