Letters to the editor

Jan. 11, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

Citizens should fill council vacancies

The ability for our elected City Council to appoint new members to fill a vacated seat is troubling from a policy perspective. 

While a special election may be expensive or having to wait until the next scheduled election cycle to fill the seat inconvenient, we should be mindful of the consequences this policy has.  While there are many, the consequence that I take issue with especially is the reduction of diversity with respect to point of view and approach.  This is because an appointment creates a slippery slope by which the City Council selects a new member based upon the fact that they are in agreement with their current agenda, thus ensuring continuity of the status quo. 

And, while the status quo is what citizens may want based upon the previous election, this policy, whether intended or not, leaves them out of the decision-making process entirely by denying them the ability to vote.  It is time to examine and scrutinize this policy and, together, come together to change it.  It is not the purpose of the City Council to decide who will govern us.  That power and responsibility rests solely with Durham’s citizens and always should.

Nathaniel H. Goetz