My View: Notes From the Front Row (Opinion)
The signs are popping up all over. It must be election season, and the chase for your vote is on. Locally we have big elections for county supervisors and the city council. The issues confronting South Shore voters include affordable housing, public safety, overtourism impacts, and more. But what should one look for in considering a candidate? Is it their position on issues that are important to you? That’s a great place to start, but also other considerations. Anyone can put together a list of things they want to tell you they are for, but the more fundamental question is, can they do it? Can they get something done?
From my experience watching years of elections, one of the most fundamental qualities in a candidate is whether they can get two more votes. You see, being for a lot of things is useless unless you can get two more votes. It’s all about being able to count to three to pass anything at the city or county level. The skills needed to get two more votes are very different than what a politician tells you they are for and will do. Getting two more votes requires political skills like listening, respecting, connecting with others, and the ability to persuade someone to your point of view. In my experience, people run for office for two distinct reasons, they care and want to get something done or for their ego.
The city council race is a crowded field that includes some incumbents and many newcomers. I think it’s great to see how many throw their hats in the ring. I have seen past elections where you could barely get anyone to run. A crowded field like this means people see the potential for change. I see the city council race completing a transition to a new generation of leaders. At one time, most of those elected were over 60 years old; most are under 50. The old guard is long gone, and a crowded field of intelligent contenders bodes well for the community.
The county supervisor’s office is a bit unique, given that District 5 (our district) includes much more than the city and the Meyers area. The district runs from Pollock pines to Meeks Bay. That elected supervisor is typically appointed to the TRPA Board of Directors, so it’s an important seat. At the county level, it’s just two running for county supervisor, a more manageable race. Former city councilmember Brook Laine and Meyers resident Kenny Curtzwiler are vying for that seat.
All elections are important, and these elections are more so given the complex challenges we face. No matter who you are thinking about voting for, ask if whoever is elected has the skills and what it takes to get two more votes. I have not decided on the city council race yet, and I must admit I like some of the newcomers. As for the county supervisors’ race, given the importance and complexity of the challenges we face, I will be supporting Brooke Laine.
It’s fall, I know many football fans are out there, but this is World Series time. Nothing better than playoff baseball. Go Yankees?
It is a Wrap
In a post COVID world, I think many have noticed changes in the tourism economy. The number of visitors has receded from previous numbers, a welcome change for a number of residents. But there is more to it. Mountain destinations across the west are all experiencing similar changes. Prices have climbed, and fewer visitors are coming. Workforce housing is a problem everywhere and impacts on outdoor resources are common. There is no question that the tourism industry as we knew it pre-pandemic is changing, and the available data and information suggest it has. The bigger question is can and how we will adjust. I’ll have more thoughts on this dynamic change. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!
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