EDITORIAL: It’s time to step up

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Candidates can now file for a place on the ballot in the Liberty Hill Mayor’s race, a pair of City Council positions, or for one of two places on the Liberty Hill ISD School Board.

The filing period is open until Feb. 14, and it is important that every position on the ballot has at least two candidates vying for each place.

Local government functions best when it is established on a foundation that provides the community a choice of who will lead. The greatest leaders ever to serve in government were better when they faced opposition in an election.

A contested election is the only mechanism that allows for public discussion of the variety of options when it comes to how or why a city or school district should follow a certain path. One candidate means one path. One candidate means an endorsement of what that candidate stands for and advocates.

A contested race means two months to work through the questions on leadership and direction, to hash out future plans and agendas so that the voters have a continued say where Liberty Hill is headed.

In covering the Liberty Hill City Council, The Independent has reported on areas and actions that have raised questions regarding policy, process and the decisions made in leading city government.

The process questions are the most concerning as evidence mounts of a consolidation of control and the marginalization of many longtime participants. The perception is that there is less public discussion and fewer people involved in the process.

The questions of policy and decision-making are issues that deserve a light shined on them to provide the community the information it needs to approve or disapprove of the current direction.

The Independent has also become a place where concerned people in the community come to talk about their issues and experiences with the current leadership. Whether it’s a personal or professional matter, these concerns come to us as off-the-record conversations. We’ve had at least half a dozen this month alone, featuring a variety of claims.

Sometimes there is research or deeper investigation our staff conducts to try and bring issues to light. Sometimes it is information simply filed away for another day should the particular issue reemerge in a different way.

At some point these concerned individuals should step forward and publicly share their concerns or they will be left to operate in the same scenario they face today, but against an established leadership further emboldened by tacit endorsement of the current situation.

If any of these questions or concerns raise eyebrows among the resident voters, then they should also generate a push for a new referendum on the future of Liberty Hill. That is only possible through a contested election.

It is not what The Independent questions or writes about that will encourage change or the status quo, it is the reaction of the voters in Liberty Hill.

If the news and questions raised through The Independent don’t spur candidates to step up and voters to support them, then the community will have clearly spoken through a lack of action as well.

Our staff knows there is disagreement and dissatisfaction in the community regarding the current leadership. The question that remains is how much disagreement exists below those surface rumblings and how much it matters.

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