‘By the people, for the people,’ or something like that

Someone a long time ago said that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” That someone was our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln was mostly self-taught. He didn’t go to college and had very little formal education. It has been reported that he taught himself to read and write. With an IQ of 148, according to researcher and psychologist Dean Simonton’s estimates, and being the only president to have a patent after inventing a device to free steamboats that ran aground, he is arguably one of the most intelligent American presidents.

Our government from the federal level all the way down to the local level is a Democratic Republic. People elect officials to represent them, their voice and their views. Those elected officials then work on behalf of those who elected them. Without participation and input from the people who put them in office, it is very difficult for an elected official to speak and act for their constituency.

There is no room for apathy. Our involvement is needed at all levels of government including, most importantly, local government. Someone once told me that “no one cares about the city; it is not an important entity and does not deserve much mention. It is not worthy of even being on the front page of the newspaper and as such, it is rarely found there.” Those statements couldn’t be more wrong.

Municipalities, such as the City of Alpine, have the most impact on our day-to-day lives. The city typically provides services such as water, wastewater, gas, trash collection and recycling services. The city regulates people and their property. Alpine takes responsibility for many parks and the swimming pool, police, fire, municipal courts, collaboration between communities in our region, planning and zoning, as well as building standards and code enforcement, animal services, and of course taxation, to name a few. Things that affect our daily lives, our standard of living and our quality of life.

Considering how important these things are, I decided to run for mayor, and one of my main goals is to get more input from as many residents as possible. Your input is critical to the success of our government at all levels, and especially to our local government. Also critical to our municipality is having a detailed strategic plan for the next year, three years, five years, and 10 years. Not just a list of goals, but an actual step-by-step on how we will achieve those goals. Which goals are our priority? How are we going to budget and pay for them? Are we going to go after debt? Alter the budget? Are we going to do these things in-house or are we going to contract out?

So far, we have had three town hall meetings where residents are writing their ideas down and posting them around the room on posters with broader categories listed. The turnout has been good, with close to 30 people at the one on November 5 at the Granada. I would love to see even more residents come and give their input during the next three meetings. Those meeting dates and times are November 17, 5:30 p.m. at the Visitor’s Center Pavilion, December 1, 6 p.m. at the Alpine Public Library, and December 7, noon, at the American Legion Hall.

Also, I am grateful because the number of residents coming to the City Council Meetings has increased both in person and on Zoom. These meetings are held typically on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

In addition, our city website is now more user-friendly. You can find just about everything you need on it, such as information about who to contact should you see a possible water or sewer leak, who to call about gas or water billing, how to access meeting videos, old and upcoming agendas, and email addresses for your councilmember as well as the city secretary, city manager, and me.

Remember, the success of our city depends on all of us, and its success is what will impact our daily lives more than any other level of government.