Wednesday, Jan 22 2014 06:00 AM

Guest Commentary: Lessons learned from Golden Hills recall effort

During the process of the Golden Hills Community Services District recall, several of us working on getting signatures and answering questions got quite an education and not the one you might think.

We came very close to the total needed of 1,190 signatures -- we fell less than 200 short -- and we knew going in the numbers would be close, so I want to thank all the people that collected signatures for taking the abuse from CSD board members, friends of the board and the public, for their efforts in gathering signatures.

We still believe changes need to be made by the CSD board and will work in other ways to help make those changes.

We had people tell us that the recall was undemocratic; we had people that would or didn't want to get involved out of fear of retribution, some because they didn't think it was their job to pay attention to their government and some because they liked what the CSD was doing.

I get that this was an emotional issue for those that were interested in knowing what was going on, on either side, but I don't think that relieves people of courtesy. The amount of sheer rudeness was amazing. We worked very hard to not fall to that level and in almost all cases I believe we were successful.

Whether you agree or not with the recall effort, it is a democratic option if you feel your government is not acting properly. They also didn't make it an easy thing to accomplish. For all of those that were polite in telling us you were not interested in signing, I thank you.

The biggest lessons learned were if you don't participate in some way you get the government you ask for, it takes very little to keep informed so you know when to step up and ask questions. Some people work too hard to stay in power, listening to only the constituents who will pat you one the back causes recalls. I also learned politics doesn't have to be negative and those that use negativity are holding power for the wrong reasons.

My family moved to Tehachapi 25 years ago, to some I'm still considered a newbie, through this process I was honored to be able to talk to people that gave me firsthand accounts of Golden Hills from before the district was formed up to when we moved here.

For those of you that missed the wonderful neighborly community attitude of that time, it's not too late to bring it back -- just hold the door for the people behind you, smile, say thank you and bite your tongue when you want to be rude.

VIRGINIA STAABS is a Golden Hills resident.

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