Candidates for political office are often heard talking about the potentially dire consequences of a particular election as if the results at the polls will decide their constituents’ fate for years if not decades.
In many cases, such talk is more cliched exaggeration to motivate turnout than genuine concern.
But when it comes to the votes that will be cast in the upcoming Pocatello mayoral and City Council races, what happens on Nov. 2 will matter big time for the Gate City in the near and distant future.
We encourage Pocatello residents to not take this election lightly. Please turn out and vote because there are a wide variety of candidates who have vastly different platforms and visions for Pocatello.
With the mayor’s post and three City Council positions in the balance, we firmly believe the ramifications of the Nov. 2 election could be felt for generations to come in Pocatello.
It’s our observation that good, bad and ugly can be found in Pocatello’s city government and voters should take all this into account before casting their ballots.
The good news is that we have outstanding city services with competent employees and supervisors at all levels.
We implore Pocatello voters to not take this for granted and to refrain from buying into the thinking that cutting the city’s budget to the bone will not deteriorate the quality of these services.
We’re all fortunate to live in a city with professional and competent police, fire, sanitation, parks and rec, water and sewer, and public works departments, an outstanding library and animal shelter, and quality transit system. Voters would be wise to avoid supporting candidates who want to provide a fix to city services that are not broken.
Unfortunately, there is one big area of concern we have with our city government and that is a City Council we believe is broken. It’s a council so plagued by infighting that it’s become an embarrassment and is negatively impacting economic development in our city.
Billionaire developers apparently don’t want to invest in communities where City Council meetings nearly devolve into fisticuffs because city leaders despise each other.
The current City Council is not a good team and can’t work together.
There have been times in the city’s past when council members seemed too agreeable about everything and things appeared to be too cozy and peaceful at City Council meetings.
But the disdain our council members have for each other nowadays makes us all long for the congeniality of the past.
As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, there’s the ugly in our city government that is also tied directly to the council.
The proposed hit list of positions to be eliminated within Pocatello city government that one council member created in a ham-fisted effort to save money is causing good city employees to quit.
This coupled with the dysfunctional reputation the council is creating for our city’s government will make finding quality replacements difficult to say the least.
Who would want to be the city’s finance director knowing that they would be the fourth person to hold that job in the last three years? Trust us when we say the best and brightest people aren’t going to apply.
Attracting good people to Pocatello’s city government has never been difficult in the past but now it is and blame for that goes to the City Council.
The council has even managed to somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to what was a big win for our city — the north side dog park. The council approved it and the community was rejoicing but then the whole thing inexplicably imploded and the organization leading the effort to build the park has since cancelled its plans.
It’s all evidence of the disconnect and dysfunction at City Hall and that’s putting it politely.
The problem with our city government is not with any city supervisor or employee. It’s with those calling the shots and the only way to fix it is for Pocatellans to vote on Nov. 2.
When looking over the names on the election ballot, we have concerns about activist single-issue candidates who we fear will only make our City Council more fractured and further hinder our city’s future with their extremist views.
Voters should support candidates who are running for the right reasons and steer clear of candidates who are running a campaign fueled by their personal dislike of an incumbent or who are pushing an agenda that caters to their supporters and would leave the rest of us without representation.
We support candidates who want a Pocatello where our younger generation can stay here, buy a home and start a family, who don’t see growth and economic development as a threat, and who can work constructively as a team with their peers on the council.
We can’t understate how important your vote is on Nov. 2 to make Pocatello a better place today, tomorrow and into the future.
We all must do our part on election day or Pocatello might never be the same.