At long last, things are finally getting interesting.
We speak, of course, about the May 8 races for Marble Falls City Council. When all seemed lost and doomed to apathy, suddenly 10 candidates filed for three slots by the Monday deadline.
Now that’s a healthy dose of participation.
Certainly there’s plenty of impetus to run.
Some folks are still nettled by a 28 percent tax hike in the fall of 2008 and want something done; others are concerned about how the downturn in the economy has diminished sales receipts — and they have ideas about how to attract tourism and encourage retail growth. There are also concerns about annexation, lack of annexation, roadways — in other words, plenty of issues.
But first, we wish to congratulate those individuals who had the courage and desire to seek public office. It says a lot about these community members that they are willing to put their views and their hearts on display for all to see.
Their motives should be focused on serving their city and not themselves.
Here’s the breakdown:
The 10 candidates are seeking at-large council seats currently held by Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Pilley and councilmen Jim Weber and Chris Bridges.
Bridges, 46, is the only current council member seeking re-election, with Weber stepping down due to term limits and Pilley declining to seek another term.
Also running in the race are electronics technician Charles “Chuck” Dear, 52; retail manager Reed Norman, 52; retiree and Burnet County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Maddern, 62; health and safety manager Richard Lewis, 38; merchant Patrick Carter, 57; professional server Brady McAlister, 24; retiree Michael Goff, 68; business owner and Economic Development Corp. board member John Packer, 50; and attorney Allan Garrett, 35.
What a diverse group. Certainly they all bring something to the table, although only the three with the most votes will win.
If there is any criticism to be made, it is simply that no women chose to run for the seats, which come with two-year terms. But there is always the next election cycle.
In the meantime, here is some advice for the candidates as they begin their run for office:
- Campaign in good faith.
- Be truthful, stick to the facts. If you don’t know the answer, say so, then go find out.
- Make yourself accessible.
- Clearly state what you feel are the problems.
- Offer real solutions and answers.
- Practice fairness.
- Above all, don’t sling mud. He who throws mud often finds it sticks to him just as much.
- Certainly there plenty of issues to hash out. The city faces abundant challenges, and it will take cool heads and candidates who are willing to listen and keep an open mind to sort some of these out.
- They include:
- Handling a looming deficit
- Being ready to make the hard decisions, including possible cuts through attrition and possible layoffs.
- Revitalizing Main Street
- Infrastructure, including repairing streets
- Transportation issues, such as the U.S. 281 bridge replacement over Lake Marble Falls by the Texas Department of Transportation
- New subdivisions and growth, such as the anticipated hospital complex south of Marble Falls
We wish each candidate good luck in their bid for office, and we hope that when the voting is done, the new council members will be ready to get down to the business of preserving Marble Falls.
The River Cities Daily Tribune editorial board includes Dan Alvey, Amber Alvey Weems, Thomas Edwards, Chris Porter and Daniel Clifton.