Choose your vote for councilperson carefully….

by jhwygirl

I can’t help but to consider my vote with some trepidation. I, and many, are weary of the infighting and mud slinging that has been the norm on council for more than 5 years. There are important issues that Missoula faces, and the ongoing battles draw energy away from finding answers to those problems.

Problems like traffic and congestion, alternative transportation, growth, development, affordable housing.

Instead we’re resurfacing discussions on roundabouts where city funds have been dedicated years ago.

We can’t adjust simple every-day fees, as the city is required to do annually, because it continues to be sent back to committee.

Why must everything be sent back to committee? Can we not just vote on it, and move on?

There were golden years to council – a time when General Comments from Council Members was used to wish a councilperson Happy Birthday or to announce an upcoming non-profit fundraiser, but now it regularly degrades to personal attacks and snipes on other council members regarding past votes.

Missoulians can wait no longer. Growth. Affordable Housing. Transportation. Sprawl. These are all topics that virtually all of us agree need to be discussed in a search for solutions.

With each election, it seems we end up flip-flopping the elected alderperson – trading one camp in one ward for another camp in another ward.

It’s time that we, the voters, decide that enough is enough – that we want a council that will work together – a council that is willing to listen and discuss and search for answers. We need to look a the bigger picture, together.

We can’t do that merely by casting our vote. In the search for democracy and representation, voters have gotten lazy – at all levels, from local on up through the federal level. We can not expect to cast our vote and walk away from the process.

Today’s government is easily accessible – there is email and regular mail, there is the phone. We – YOU – have a voice. You can not expect, with the complexity of issues at hand, to cast your vote and expect to be happy with the results.

Our leaders need our help. They need our input. Democracy is diluted when only a few choose to participate.

It’s time to quit laying blame with the politician.

When you choose your vote for councilperson, consider all of the above – and look for the candidate that recognizes the issues and shows a desire to address them. A candidate that offers solutions instead of complaining about the past. Someone with a vision for a better Missoula. Someone who offers substance instead of snipes.

And after you’ve done that, keep their email handy, follow the issues, and let them know what you expect them to do for you. Whether you’ve voted for them or not, they represent you – and you need to remind them of that.

Without casting your well-thought vote and following-through after the election, you are a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.

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