TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNANCE
I initially ran for council because a number of residents and business owners shared their concerns about not understanding how the city makes certain decisions and their lack of trust in the decision-making process. People felt that their voices were not heard. A toxic environment was taking hold where personal attacks were aimed against volunteers serving the city. To some extent, this resulted in residents feeling less inclined to serve their city.
Lakeway has been run with the help of volunteers for over 50 years and is ranked high against similar governmental entities by numerous independent rating agencies and organizations. Losing volunteerism will result in a need for a larger city staff to provide the services we residents have come to expect. This will also lead to increased expenditure on the city’s part and larger tax burdens on residents and businesses. I intend to preserve the volunteer nature of the city the best it can be preserved.
I believe the city has made significant gains in this area in the last two years. We have moved the city culture from enforcement to compliance. The council has worked well as a group in discussing issues and arriving at solutions while listening to the residents and businesses. We have overhauled numerous ordinances to address concerns raised by our stakeholders. We have audited various large development projects and were successful in cleaning up the Highlands development agreement. We explored various mechanisms to complete Main Street and have succeeded in bringing multiple parties together and the plan is taking shape.
It is of paramount importance for a representative of a large population on any governing body to gather the relevant desires, perspectives, issues, concerns and possible solutions from the citizens in order to serve the community as a whole. City government representatives have an additional burden: to make decisions for the good of the community at large, even if they are not loved by a certain segment of the population due to outsized adverse impact on that segment. How much greater the burden when that segment might happen to be your neighbors and friends. However, city representatives must balance conflicting interests for the good of the city at large. There is a mechanism for balancing such interests by maintaining open channels of communication with the residents of the city. The city government must communicate the benefits of any decision to residents who oppose such a decision with relevant data, information, and analysis behind the rationale as well as the short-term and long-term outcomes for the city residents.
To ensure we collect as much information as possible to arrive at correct decisions for Lakeway at large, I plan to:
Help publicize events and issues in advance to encourage residents and businesses to appear before city committees and council to share their concerns and opinions.
Foster diverse participation in the city’s governance through committees and civic engagement to allow for healthy discourse on issues that affect residents.
Efficiently arrive at consensus by encouraging respectful dialogue and discouraging personal attacks because of differing perspectives.
Share the information I have learned from data and analysis with residents so they have sufficient time to evaluate the pros and cons of any given issue.
Encourage the spirit of servitude in city governance by modeling such a spirit. I will serve residents and businesses operating in Lakeway by supporting regulations that help the city preserve its character, lifestyle and attractiveness to residents, such as those that provide safety to the community at large and protect residents’ interests in their property and preserve the character of Lakeway.
Be available to the city residents and business owners to discuss issues and find solutions.
Educate myself on issues so I can ask the relevant questions reflective of community interests in front of city council and various committees.
Share the rationale and reasons driving a decision with both sides and try to bring parties of differing views together for productive dialogue and compromise that is in the best interest of the city as a whole.
Further, I will ensure that I am open with the other Council Members, the Mayor, and the City Staff to share what I have learned from our Lakeway citizens through these channels so that we can arrive at correct decisions for the greater Lakeway.
Do you have thoughts on this issue? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org