Early Voting Begins Today...

Here's a piece from my good friend Shirley Thornton.:

I posted this on my Facebook page this evening. I never put into writing that which I cannot defend. I wish each of you luck for the sake of us all.

Shirley

Why I Am NOT Voting for Change in the City Council

by Shirley Thornton

Tomorrow starts early voting, and I am ready to cast my vote for the incumbents (McComb, Smith, Guajardo, Hunter, Garza) in the Corpus Christi City Council race. This has nothing (or almost nothing) to do with those running against the incumbents. In fact, there are some fine candidates out there who will one day make superb council members. For now, I simply think the current council needs more time to continue their work and become experts at governing the city. It’s odd how most people understand that it takes more than a couple of years of learning to move from novice to master in every other field (i.e. teaching, plumbing, flying), but they fail to see it in civic leadership. We must allow them the opportunity to learn the craft of governance, which – like every other craft – happens in stages (See diagram.)

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If the incumbents hadn’t shown growth and progress, I would be voting differently. The problems in the city are huge (i.e. storm water, streets, reliable water source), so the progress that has been made might go unnoticed. Still, this council has indeed made progress – in all areas. More importantly, they have gained experience in dealing with city staff and fellow council members, in understanding the budget, in negotiating contracts with police and emergency service unions, in collaborating with business, industry, and other levels of government, and in listening to the citizenry to act in their best interest. However, just as they are getting the hang of it, they might be voted out. Could this constant turnover in leadership be part of the reason that the city seems to take one step forward and two (or more) steps backward?

The City Charter needs work in changing term lengths for council members. At the very least, they should be elected for three years, but four would probably be best. The terms should be staggered so that someone with knowledge of the past is always on council. I am amazed at what new council members are never told by staff regarding what went before. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. We are in a constant state of starting over. I serve on a local school board that has 4-year staggered terms. This method of electing board trustees is one of the reasons that we continue to gain momentum in moving our district forward while maintaining an excellent rating. We have built-in experts who know the history of the district and who serve as mentors for the new board members. Our city council would benefit from such a system. In the meantime, I am voting for the incumbents to give them a chance to gain momentum. We can’t continue to start over every two years, so I am supporting the incumbents: Mayor Joe McComb, At-large council members Paulette Guajardo, Michael Hunter, and Rudy Garza, and District 4 Councilman Greg Smith.

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