Former County Councilman offers primer for current, future elected officials

I write this primer for all current and future south county elected officials, no matter their party affiliation or skill level, because it seems lately that an understanding of south county and its residents has been lacking in our public policy decisions.

Let us take a look at two recent examples:

• Taking away our choice of a trash hauler and requiring us to pay for recycling even if we don’t recycle is a bad idea in south county.

• Creating a Community Improvement District — CID — for the Midwest Plaza shopping center that requires south county taxpayers to pay private landowners to maintain their private property is a bad idea in south county.

As south county residents, we want our government to provide us with excellent police and fire protection, streets in good repair and free from snow, and that is about it.

We don’t want government taking away our choices and placing mandates on what we can and cannot do. We want our taxes to be as low as possible and certainly not have our tax dollars squandered on a private interest.

I am, of course, generalizing, not every south countian feels this way. But my experience as a former member of the County Council and my lifetime in south county leads me to believe that the vast majority do.

Even if your policy idea is a noble one — and I think that the trash district and recycling concepts are — it may not be right for the people you represent. You must understand your constituency — their needs, wants and dislikes.

I don’t think that either of the above policy decisions was made with that understanding.

Jeff Wagener

south county