Letter: Many factors to consider in important council vote
To the editor,
Rosemount is no longer a quiet little town of 8,000, out in the country. With our present population of 22,000 and growing, we are rapidly becoming a second tier suburb. This means much more thought and care are required when planning anything. And those in paid and elected positions need to have higher level and skills than required in the past, like:
Knowing the transportation infrastructures
Having either government or large corporation experience.
Understanding how to establish and stick to a realistic and effective budget
Being well-networked with state and county departments and employees, and community leaders
Understanding local businesses
Being able to both listen to constituents, respond professionally, and be proactive on their behalves
Voting for a candidate based on one topic or situation (e.g., eminent domain, which is no longer even a legal option in Minnesota) would not make sense. Voting for someone who would continue the divisiveness that prevailed in recent years would be voting for a continuation of that madness. Politics or partisanship have no place in city councils. Know that when candidates say they intend to reduce the tax burden on homeowners, this generally means they intend to bring in more industry/business that'll pay more in taxes. So be sure that each company considered will be beneficial to the city in multiple ways, and not detract in any way.
In the book, "The Checklist * How To Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande, M.D., he espouses the increasing need for precise checklists in many areas of life as more and more information and data become available, in order to either eliminate or at least drastically reduce the possibility of errors.
It lists the top three key elements as:
1. Selflessness (accepting responsibility for others)
2. Skill (aiming for excellence in both knowledge and skills)
3. Trustworthiness (being responsible for our personal behavior toward our charges).
In aviation, an important fourth is added:
4. - Discipline (following prudent procedure and functioning with others as a team.)
Here are some positive things a good city council will do:
Build community and cohesively bring everyone together.
Look out for the best interests of the city and its residents at all times and promote it to the outside world.
Write and incorporate realistic and fair budgets, policies and ordinances -- and enforce them.
Focus on the needs of the residents, and look for effective, long term solutions.
These positions come with the authority to make many decisions, which affect every one of us for years. If we want the best possible representation, we all need to do our due diligence to garner the interest of the most qualified persons; to learn from past mistakes and then move on; to see the patterns, assess the true costs, then try new approaches. And to carefully research candidates' resumes and personal beliefs and practices before voting.