While watching St. Helena's politics from the sidelines the last few months, I have been nothing less than surprised, confused and frustrated.
After reading last week about the new SHAPE committee and their spot-on recommendations for upgraded city facilities, I recalled the late-summer letter campaign in favor of building a new hotel on the Adams Street property and stopping the revolving door of no growth, no new income and no prosperity.
How are we to pay for upgrades or new facilities when we are on thin ice just paying our bills? I too am all for saving our agricultural heritage and small-town charm, but that does not have to mean no change or progress. There is room for both. But as the rest of the valley financially blossoms around us, what do we do in St. Helena to try and make things better? We start an effort to recall our mayor because he wants our city to survive and thrive and recognizes that to make that happen, something has to change.
There are increasing costs to keeping things the same and I’m afraid that is lost on the recall proponents. We have no budget for new facilities. We could be one sinkhole away from financial ruin, but we don’t like the mayor and his ideas so let’s spend tens of thousands of city dollars we don’t have to get rid of him, when he’s up for re-election just a few months later.
There is talk of mediation, there are accusations of fake news, there are neighbors pitted against each other and to what end? Where exactly will a recall vote in June get us, and what will change before a termed mayor is elected in November?
Being able to advocate for our beliefs is the foundation of democracy, but it has to make sense. If the coalition promoting the recall really wants to impact change, they should spend their time finding a candidate that shares their goals to run in November 2018 and work to get them elected. Who’s to say that if they succeed with the recall they can’t lose at the ballot box in November and we’d be right back where we started.
Looking around at our empty storefronts and open tables at restaurants these days, we’d just have to ask “how’s that working for you?”