Choices made on ballot affect many
October 28, 2020
My husband and I are not allowed to vote on the Sweet Home City initiatives and leadership because we do not reside within the city limits.
I have lived in the area for 49 years and my grandchildren are fifth-generation “Sweet Home” via my husband’s family. My husband and I also own commercial property within the city limits and we run a business in town so we are very interested and concerned citizens. Therefore, we wanted to communicate what we think we need to consider on the election of our city councilors.
First, we need to vote for people who have a diversity of thought, values, and experiences. “Echo chambers” where everyone is alike are not conducive to addressing modern problems that require “out- of-the-box” thinking.
I am excited to see more women run for office locally because if we want to see equality at the top levels of government, we need to start building the “deep bench” at the local level. We also need incumbents who can mentor the newbies as to how to get things done in Sweet Home.
We all know we have our own culture (good and bad) and values that can be both hindering and helpful in effectively using our resources to sustain and improve our community.
Second, we need to vote for people who are smart enough to know we need diverse economic growth that does not put our eggs in one basket. While we are proud, respectful and grateful for the immense impact of the timber industry in our community, single focus nearly killed us when spotted owl came along.
COVID has walked in and taught us just how dangerous a single focus on the recreational industry can be. We need to value all businesses and show that commitment by spending resources on infrastructure (internet, roads, water, sewer, etc.) and city livability which benefits all of industries.
Third, we need to vote for people who have a passion for our community and willing to put in the time and effort equal to the position. We don’t need people who are there for the glory or the status.
Heaven knows, no one is there for the money but to see people repeatedly not show up at council meetings or community events indicates lack of commitment.
Lisa Gourley is a great example of what working hard looks like. We need more like her.
Fourth, we need to vote for people that are transparent and honest in their own opinions and agendas (even when we disagree with them). I will vote for people I disagree with politically like Courtney Nash, because I know he is honest and lets you know what he thinks openly but listens to other’s perspectives before deciding.
Fifth, we need to vote for brave individuals that listen and do not cower to the “opinion leaders” in Sweet Home. In the past, a few members on the council felt they could quietly make decisions for all behind the scenes with little or no regard for citizen’s input.
When cannabis sales were an option, some council persons decided, without asking anyone, not to allow citizens to vote on the subject. One person on the council stood up and demanded citizens’ input be gathered via hearings (even while not personally wanting it) and via a vote, we now we have cannabis businesses locally, with little if any negative impact to the community.
Sixth and lastly, we need to vote for people who can direct the city manager effectively by ensuring the office is used to manage Sweet Home business and personnel fairly and productively.
Why have we had issues in the last few years with losing valuable skilled, long-term employees/expertise, dragging out contract negotiations, and currently having a less diverse management staff than previously? We need a strong team that understands their responsibilities are to the citizens … and not city management.
I know most of you have already voted as we have, but hopefully for you all out there on the fence, my comments may help you in making your choices.