Fresh faces facing future

Many years ago, us old-timers referred to a near-by city’s election as a “Saturday Night Slaughter” after six of seven incumbents were beaten by political newcomers. All the winners credited their success to a disconnect between current seat holders and those they were employed to represent.

Not sure we can describe results of our Saturday past in the same term, but residents in four of our town’s five city council districts will be looking at new faces. And, let’s hope a larger percentage of each district’s residents bother to check up on their hired hands than took the time to vote. 

Yeah, we know. Only two district seats (A and C) were involved Saturday, but the well-under average voter turnout doesn’t bode well even for the winners. Incumbents Wayne Edwards and Cheese Bradford might have been beaten as much by apathy as by the “fed-up factor.” But Buddy Myles (A) and Latasha Anderson Mitchell (C) now have incentive to become part of a governmental rejuvenation in Minden.

We certainly don’t expect everything to be peaches and cream in the bowl of reality at city hall. Like in any public body interaction, there will be disagreements. Here’s hoping, and expecting, those differences of opinion will be handled in a 180-degree fashion from that of the previous group. Judging from statements by the new councilpersons, that appears likely.

These newcomers will have to take their seats on their feet. The problems facing this new administration are far from insurmountable, but they are pesky. Minden’s utility rates are more than a mess, and there’s little hope of relief until the current contract with our power broker expires. Maybe this administration can find a loophole that might reduce some of the transferrable fees to we the customer, but our rockin’ chair isn’t fitted with a breathing apparatus.

Economic development has been highlighted for more than the past four years, but about all we’ve seen from efforts out of city hall are small mom-and-pop type businesses. We aren’t insinuating by any means that these aren’t appreciated and important, but there has to be a little more meat added to the skeleton of commerce. Not even through the gossipvine have we heard of our town taking a shot at larger fish.

We’ve heard much hype over attracting visitors to Minden. While there’s not much the city council can do to advance tourism, it can present an infrastructurally attractive city to those who do drop in. While we’ve seen a couple of street projects completed, there are many more in need of improvement. It takes money. The pot is small, and it still isn’t filled to the brim. This council will have to address the needs with the facts. 

And then there’s this hair-in-the-eye problem called outflow. For too many years, Minden has been bleeding population. During this, and many previous campaigns, candidates have told us we have to do something that will keep people here. For decades, we haven’t. Answering that question might be as simple as conducting comparative studies on what’s bringing the flocks to areas like those just a few miles to our west.

And if people do want to locate/relocate here, where’ll we put ’em? To close-quote “the voice,” if you build it they will come. Ok. When and where was the last subdivision developed in or close to our town? The only developments we’ve seen in a while are more destinational (B&Bs, etc.) and it’s tough to think we can repopulate on the room-by-room plan.

Old challenges occasionally need new eyes to find solutions. We’ve got several newbie pairs in the mayor and four of the five councilers. Remember, though: fresh ideas are always welcome but they don’t always work. Don’t be discouraged when they don’t. 

Trust your constituents enough to ask for their help. Sometimes the common denominator for success is found in the most common of us all. More than one of you who now occupy the decider’s seats used the words “together” and “unity” to describe how we could achieve anything. We’re raising a cup of antacid and hoping you mean it. 

— Pat Culverhouse

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