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An open letter to Denairians

POSTED August 14, 2009 9:11 p.m.
Dear residents of Denair,
Do you care about your community? Do you have any aspirations of outgrowing the shadow of Turlock to become your own, independent locality?
Well, I hate to say it, but you’ve got a long way to go to prove it.
I’m not sure if any of you are aware of this, but there’s an election coming in about three months. According to the electoral calendar three members of your five-member Denair Municipal Advisory Council were to be elected on Nov. 3.
Note the “were” in that previous sentence.
When the initial candidate filing period closed on Aug. 7, not a single Denairian had filed the papers to throw his or her hat in the ring. When the deadline was extended five days to Wednesday, again, no one submitted his or her intent to run for office.
With three seats open and available on arguably the most important board in Denair, no one wanted to sit down.
I’m baffled. My mind is boggled. Heck, I’m wishing that I lived in Denair so I could have effectively automatically won a seat on your MAC.
I can understand that you may feel disenchanted with the whole concept of a MAC. That could explain the utter lack of interest in your own governance.
As Denair is not an incorporated city, merely a municipality within the county borders, you cannot have a city council. Instead, you have a MAC, a board that is entirely subservient to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.
So maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on you Denairites; your MAC race certainly wasn’t the only in the county that failed to find its fill of candidates.
Empire, Hickman, Knights Ferry, South Modesto, and Valley Home all had seats open for their respective MACs, and not a one had enough candidates file to fill all the available seats. In fact, Keyes’ and Salida’s were the only two MAC races in the county to have enough candidates to fill all available seats.
But, in my mind, “Everyone else is doing it,” is simply not a valid excuse.
I hate to sound like your mother, but if everyone else was jumping off a bridge — or, in this case, sitting on the sideline and letting others make important decisions about their future — would you do it too?
According to the Denair MAC Fact Sheet, it is the responsibility of your MAC to advise the Board of Supervisors on, “Services which are or may be provided to the area by the County or other local governmental agencies, including but not limited to advice on matters of public health, safety, welfare, public works, and planning.”
Now, call me crazy, but these all sound like important things. These sound like the sort of things that your community relies upon.
Sure, as a MAC the Board of Supervisors wouldn’t necessarily heed your opinions on these matters, but I’ve found that more often than not the Supervisors accept the proposals of their advisory boards.
And if you aren’t even around to provide a suggestion on matters, then what? Do you really want five men who don’t even live in Denair to blindly make important decisions about your community’s future?
Fortunately, there’s still time to make a difference, concerned Denairanders.
No, you can’t now nominate yourself for election. You’ve been asleep at the wheel too long for that.
You can, however, start lobbying your local Supervisor Vito Chiesa to appoint you to office.
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors holds the sole authority to appoint new members to the Denair MAC in the case of a vacancy. There will be three vacancies following the pending election.
Given the current level of interest, it seems unlikely those seats will be filled.
If you’ve read through this letter and find yourself even a little bit stirred to action, I implore you to take an interest in your government. You have a once in a lifetime opportunity to take charge and improve the place you live, the place you love.
I hope that any one of you would jump at that chance.
Sincerely,
Alex Cantatore
P.S. – Don’t be lazy, Denairians. Your MAC meets just one evening a month. Invest that time and make a difference.
To nominate Alex Cantatore for elected office, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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