Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Voting Shows People Are Angry at Leaders

Given San Angelo's sleepy twenty nine city council amendments, election officials expected a light turnout. To their surpise people in central Tom Green County voted well above the state rate. They passed all but three of the measures, using mostly paper ballots.

But their "no vote" on the three proposed changes speaks volumes, especially when viewed in light of Rep. Mike Conaway's August open house. The Congressman left with his jaw hanging from a rather unfriendly West Texas reception. He even pleaded with the crowd to lighten up so his staffers wouldn't think poorly of us citizens.

What did San Angelo voters turn down? First, they stayed with a requirement that City Council leaders be paid up on their property taxes. While unconstitutional, the citizen's didn't feel like lowering this standard. Second, they stuck with an elected police chief for the 11th time as 53.6% of voters don't trust City Council to do the job right. Third, they refused a raise and increased benefits for the Mayor and members of the council.

It may speak directly to the citizen's confidence in local politicians, but my guess is it extends beyond the confines of our city limits. Leaders need to measure up, do their part, even pay taxes. They need to act on behalf of all citizens, not just their political club. When they can't come together to do the people's business, people don't want to give them more work to do or more pay for what they're not getting done. Our high turnout for a non-event election speaks loudly. The overwhelming selection of paper ballots says another. We may just get our democracy back if this keeps up. Time will tell...

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