September 30, 2017

 "It has been said that democracy is the
worst form of government, except all
the others that have been tried."
- Winston 


(Politics seems to be on everyone's mind these days, and we hear many points of view each day here in the bookshop. With Churchill’s comments in mind, we’ve turned this page in our newsletter over to Val Tollefson, our current Mayor, for his reflections on local politics.)

Last year at this time, most of us were deeply engaged with the Presidential campaign. We expected it to be consequential, because we would be electing our first female President. We were right about the consequential part. This year, our City Council election is the main event on the November ballot. It will too will be consequential, and it is past time for Islanders to become equally engaged.

It is the decisions made at the local level that most directly impact our lives. While our City Council election results won’t matter to Kim Jong Un one way or the other, they matter greatly to us. Land use planning, a central City responsibility, impacts our freedom to use and enjoy our own property, our access to clean and plentiful water, and the existence of the non-residential development that is crucial to our ability to enjoy life here. Public health and safety depend on well managed utilities, well maintained public streets and other facilities and on a police department that conducts itself in accordance with our community expectations and standards. Council decisions, and the way the Council goes about making those decisions, will determine whether we get what we demand. 

Through its Comprehensive Plan, the City has pledged to work toward a wide range of lofty goals. The current City Council has taken concrete steps toward ensuring that the City Municipal Code, internal processes and budget decisions advance those goals. It will be incumbent on the next Council to continue this work. How they go about that depends on your vote. Since it really matters, be an informed voter. Do the hard work of attending candidate forums and asking probing questions. 

I’m proud of the progress the City has made over the past four years. When I made the decision to run, my neighbor Chuck said that it was really all about the streets. Turns out, it was streets and much more. Nothing in this life is perfect, of course, but much is very, very good. That goes for our City. Keep it that way.  
And buy books!


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