People need to care more about local politics

Throughout my life, I always found it interesting that Santa Clarita had a mayor, yet there was never an election for a mayor. Or, that no one talked about there being a mayor. I went to a city council meeting and was confused at the discussions on what was occurring. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I learned that Santa Clarita had a children’s mascot named Sammy Clarita. All of this developed an idea: local government is heavily ignored. 

I find this  is incredibly bizarre because the local government has the most influence over our lives. It dictates city spending, the laws and levying taxes. It has say over city events and holds meetings in which citizens are allowed to make complaints on how the city is being run. City government should be focused on just for these reasons alone, and in turn for its direct influence on us, we have a direct voice in how the city is to be governed. 

It’s important to note how Santa Claritas city council functions especially if one is going to pay more attention to it. Santa Clarita functions on a council-manager system. There are three parts to the council. There is a council member, the mayor and the city manager. Elections for council members are held every two years on a staggered basis as council members are elected for 4-year terms. The city council can make or amend laws and every year elects a mayor. The mayor’s responsibility is to be the presiding officer over the council, serving only a one year term. The city manager is appointed by the city council and is the chief administrative officer. The city manager oversees day-to-day operations and proposes the annual budget.  

As mentioned earlier, the city council holds town meetings which allow for people to complain about issues within the city and even propose possible solutions. Even if ultimately the representation that people have doesn’t guarantee change, it creates the greatest possibility for change to be made. 

There is an all-encompassing reason why it’s important to care about local politics, and that reason is community. People need to care more about local politics because it directly affects them the most. No matter the size or place, local politics is inextricably connected to its community. To care about local politics, events, shops, and everything in between is all a part of caring about the community you live in. If there is an issue, you can work to change it by participating in the events made to bring people together. To pay attention is to understand that communities are the foundation of true democracy.