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Notes from Home: Pendulum or Progress?

Notes from Home: Pendulum or Progress?

By Trudy Wischemann

“Danny Salinas is gone!” a quiet, normally reserved woman whispered joyfully to me in public last week. She was referring to his sound defeat at the polls and the loss of his Lindsay City Council seat in last week’s election. I was surprised at her glee, surprised to be joined in this moment of apparent triumph.

So is Esteban, though I am a little less joyful at his demise. Through all his years on the dais, he at least has been polite, even friendly at times. But the pendulum has swung again: for the second time in recent history, two longtime insiders have been replaced with two councilwomen a little less likely to jump on the city manager’s bandwagon. For Lindsay, that’s progress.
In fact, the fact that we had an election at all is progress. For most of the years I’ve lived here, there were no contenders for council seats and the incumbents were simply reappointed, saving the city the costs of an election. In my never very humble opinion, that’s how we got ourselves so far in debt: the lack of real oversight from the Go-Along Gang. I call that penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Personally, I don’t know how this victory happened. The incumbents’ yard signs outnumbered the newcomers’ 10:1 and were posted in yards and on roadsides weeks ahead. I don’t do social media, but some who do report that they saw no special campaigns waged there. And I rather doubt that the readers of this paper all agree with what I wrote in my one column dedicated to the issue, or that those who do agree were enough to sway the election.

No, something happened, but I’ll never know what. The pendulum swung, that’s all I can say.

Whether that will mean progress in the city’s direction, however, is totally dependent on the city’s residents, not the new councilwomen and those others who share the dais. Whether we just swing back and forth or actually move forward depends on identifying goals we want for our community and supporting the council members who will listen and work for those goals through the weeks, months and years ahead. They cannot do it alone.

So those of you who made the pendulum swing, whoever you are, take your triumph as an opening, not a final win. Remember to check the council agendas on Fridays before the Tuesday meetings. Come to the council meetings, and when you have concerns, speak them during the public comment period. Form groups who can track the issues that concern you so that there’s greater likelihood of follow-through. Ask questions, and don’t assume the answers you’re given are the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And don’t stand for anything that blocks public participation. Work to increase it and make it more meaningful.

Maybe that way we’ll actually see progress in the years ahead. Blessings on you, fellow travelers. See you in the council chambers.

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