Castner: Citizens should involve themselves more in civic decisions

As a two-term mayor running for a third term, I would invite you citizens, of any age, to this: Involve yourself more in the decisions that will define our quality of life as we lurch forward into the 21st century. We cannot control the weather, tsunami threats, or acts of Congress, but we can be determinative of our local government’s laws and policies.

There are many ways to take part. Let’s start with voting. The voice of the population is a powerful motivator of a receptive government and is easily expressed through the ballot box. Ask questions of the candidates during the campaigns and if you find someone that you find trustworthy and aligned with your values, support them.

Become familiar with the topics that are front and center. If you want to see how the “sausage is made” attend a city council or borough assembly work session. The discussion there is far more detailed and reveals the political purpose of the action. Please take the opportunity to then provide three minutes of public comment. Early involvement is the most effective, and an email, letter, telephone call, Zoom testimony, or in-person comments gets your opinions in front of both the decision makers and the administrative staff.

Many of the most important decisions are birthed in one of the commissions or boards that advise the council or assembly. They have their own regular meetings and each provide an opportunity for public participation.

The very best way to participate is to be appointed to one of the advisory bodies. You don’t have to jump through the hoops of running an election campaign, but it does require a large commitment. Involvement means time and attentiveness.

That’s what I’m asking of you, citizen reader: Supplement the time and commitment of others with some of your own.

Start by casting your ballots for the local elections on Oct. 4.

Thank you.