A welcome rumble heard in Camas

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Listen Camas citizens…what’s that sound?

Could it be the rumblings of political discontent for the first time in years? In our ever polite community, where city council and school board races go unchallenged for many years, are there finally some folks who aren’t content to bow courteously to incumbents?

Well, the rumbling we hear isn’t exactly earth shattering. All three Camas school board positions up for re-election are uncontested. Most years that’s par for the course.

But over at Camas City Hall, come January 2012, there could potentially be three newcomers, including a new mayor to the council/mayor lineup.

And while it’s always nice to see ambitious, fresh new faces, you have to wonder what the motivation is for these folks. Political ambition? A desire to shake things up? Money?

Or is it, hopefully, a chance to offer new ideas and serve their community?

The timing for these challenges is curious too. Why in this election season do we see folks stepping forward in Camas? In years past Camas was the wonderful little city where the grass was green, the streets were clean, the schools were wonderful and the crime rate was low. Then, aspiring elected officials were not hard to come by.

Now, you kind of wonder why people would want the headaches.

Those qualities of Camas are still largely true, by the way, athough it’s doubtful if we are still the 63rd best city in the nation to live in, as voted by Money Magazine in 2008.

Today, in 2011, like nearly every city and school district, the City of Camas and Camas schools have been dealing with declining tax revenue and serious budget cuts. Fire and police budgets as well as parks, public works and the library have been affected at the city. The outlook for the near future is hardly rosy, at the city or in our schools.

So, with all our problems, is Camas still a great place to live, work and raise a family? Of course it is.

But let’s listen again local citizens. There are those rumblings again. Are those simply rumblings of discontent, from City Council challengers Margaret Tweet and Andrea Roth Meisgeier and mayoral challenger Ken Kakuk?

Or do these citizens really want to help better their community by putting new ideas on the table, alongside those to be offered by incumbent Greg Anderson and recent appointees, council member Shannon Turk and Mayor Scott Higgins?

Let’s all hope for new ideas, from challengers and incumbents alike. They will be needed in this era of ever-dwindling resources.

As for now, let’s be encouraged that we at least hear those rumblings again.