A Small Advice Column

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We’ll begin by congratulating council members Jones and Gray on their recent electoral victories in the city’s municipal elections.

All of Opelika’s city officials were returned to their post, but only Jones and Gray had competition for their positions.

Now that our city council and mayor have been returned for one more term, we would like to offer just a few words on what we believe Opelikans would like to see y’all tackle over the next few years.

Continue the excellent economic development work that has brought this town new industries like Pharmavite and the expansion of existing Opelika manufactureres like Hanwha and Mando.

This city will continue to thrive as long as we have good-paying jobs, so continuing the trend of economic expansion is a must-do.

If this means more Opelikans Abroad moments like the recent trip to Korea (in fact, we hear the Mayor puts the “Seoul” in South Korea), we say send ‘em on, as long as the jobs recruitment continues to grow.

Continue to be good stewards of our public funds, especially with regards to supporting our city school system.

The new Opelika High School can be a crown jewel for both our educational system and our economic development, as incoming businesses see we take pride and importance in the education of our children, but we hope we don’t see any requests for additional funds.

While no one relished the idea of an additional one cent on their sales tax, the move was a necessary one to provide for the future of Opelika, and such taxes are, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., said, “the price we pay for civilized society.”

There is one area in which the council would do well to make several needed changes: the city’s antiquated system of appointments for city board positions.

While several notable locals have served on many of these citizen boards for several years, we feel the time has come to introduce term limits for those boards.

These board were not meant to be filled with lifetime appointees, and it is time to allow the next generation of community leaders to take their place and make their voices known.

A mandatory two-term limit would allow for new blood and new ideas to reach the city’s various departments, while still preserving the wisdom of experience offered by some of the more venerable board members.

Take these suggestions under advisement, council members. We trust you will.

As for you average citizens reading, we urge you to get more involved with your local government, taking part in our American system of democracy in ways other than marking a ballot.

Attend council meetings, public hearings and keep an ear to the ground for goings-on.

An informed, active electorate is the only way to truly affect change.

While some of you seem to have a “Vote the devils out” mentality, we feel duty-bound to remind you that in order to do so, you must actually have alternate candidates to vote for in their place.

While you may grumble or grouse, the lack of oppositional candiadtes in most races imply a tacit endorsement of the existing members’ policies.

To put it bluntly – put up or shut up. If you aren’t willing to take an active part in the solutions to what you believe are the city’s problems, then do us all a favor and shut your big bazoos while the rest of us work.

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