To be published Oct. 31, 2018 in Tulare County's Foothills Sun-Gazette
Still working on your voting choices for this election? I am, though the window for sending in my ballot is slipping shut. The statewide propositions and regional candidates have the advantage of advertising to “help” us decide, but the local issues and candidates have little money to broadcast a preference. Local counts, though, big time.
There is only one race where I feel I have any opinion to offer that might be of worth: the Lindsay City Council race, where two incumbents’ seats are being challenged. This is what I think it comes down to: if you like what the city has accomplished so far, vote to keep the two men in their seats. If, like me, you are unhappy with what the city is doing, particularly the way it does not respond to its residents, you might want to consider replacing those two men with the two women who are asking for the chance to try their hands (again, in Rosaena Sanchez’s case, which in my mind makes her braver than you could know if you had not attended council meetings during the few years she served.)
The choices the Lindsay City Council has made over the past decade and a half may have seemed good in the beginning, but with the passage of time we’ve got results to evaluate. This weekend I drove downtown at night past El Patio restaurant, dark again. We put hundreds of thousands of dollars toward its renovation. Bad decision. We put more than hundreds of thousands of dollars to turn an old lemon packinghouse into a recreation center designed lure people from all over the state. Bad decision. We built a swimming pool for Olympic-level meets that fell a couple feet short of qualifying. Big mistake. I could go on. And those are from the past administration, so to speak, but the incumbents were overseeing those decisions.
In recent times, we do no better. We tore up our historic golf course to add another 5 soccer fields to our docket, soccer fields that were supposed to be completed at the end of June. They still are not ready. At the moment we are building a roundabout at the corner of an elementary school and the entrance to our major shopping center on the major thoroughfare into downtown, despite the submission of a petition against the plan signed by 815 Lindsay residents, many of whom live near the project. A Council that was truly interested in the city’s future would have insisted those citizens’ concerns be heard and addressed, if only in the interest of increasing citizen participation. They did not.
If you’re still reading this column after all these years of conflict with Lindsay’s idea of progress, I’m impressed. I’m tired of writing about it, tired of seeing no real progress either in the planning or the inclusion of the public’s real interest in those plans. Our ballots are one of the places where we can express ourselves about the future of our town, and here’s the good thing: they’re private. We don’t have to experience being ignored there. Vote.
Trudy Wischemann is an advocate for the public interest who writes. You can send your thoughts on progress to her c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or leave a comment below.