Manzanita City Elections

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I’ve been hearing some people talking apprehensively about all of the changes ahead for city council in Manzanita, and I get it. But I’m enthusiastic about the challenges we face, and looking forward to some new perspectives and energy to help us meet them.

Early in my first year on council, a colleague told me that someday Manzanita might figure out how to lessen its dependence on STR tax revenue, but it wouldn’t be on our watch. I was also told that although affordable housing is clearly a local problem, the city has no direct role in addressing it.

Now, less than two years later, the wheels are turning on both of these fronts – slowly, for sure – but the next council will have opportunities to advance these conversations. The new council will also be helping update our comprehensive plan and taking on STR density in some neighborhoods, among other significant concerns.

The last time we sorted out who should be on council, some folks were calling for change and others derided them as backward-looking growth deniers. This time around there seems to be somewhat of a community consensus that we need to work together to preserve what makes this place special. Still plenty of room for debate about what to do and how, but it feels like we’re closer to some common ground.

Personally, I credit our city manager for coming to town, taking a good look under the hood, noticing a lot of stuff that has been ignored or put off, and calling us to action. I’d also credit the folks behind Manzanita Today, the Manzanita Citizens Alliance, and Concerned Citizens of Manzanita. And I’m always looking forward to the next post from Kim Rosenberg.

Whatever the cause, I think we’re now better prepared to continue bringing new people into the decision-making process. And there will be plenty for them to do. Whomever the voters choose, we are assured of having five city councilors with diverse and relevant professional backgrounds and skill sets.

The council is not expected to micro-manage the day-to-day operations of the city. We are expected to ask tough questions, challenge assumptions, listen carefully, and be a proactive strategic partner with the city manager on a range of challenges, some decades old and others newly emerging.

Our form of local government, as defined by our city charter, will guide us through whatever changes the voters may choose to make. Vote with confidence and optimism, and we’ll all be just fine.
Jerry Spegman