Allen Carstensen for Village Board
There’s one basic reason that I’ve agreed to put a lawn sign for Allen Carstensen for Village Board in my lawn, and one fundamental reason that I’ll be voting for him on Tuesday: Critically open government.
Allen Carstensen has been an advocate for open and responsive government for years now, not just in the short time that he has been running for a place on the Village Board himself. Carstensen has been a frequent presence at Village Board meetings, and is well aware of how they run. On his Ulysses Democrats blog, Carstensen has been posting audio of Village meetings, so that the rest of us can get a sense of what’s going on with the Village Board of Trustees too, even when we aren’t able to attend.
As much as Carstensen understands the workings of the Village Board, he also seems to appreciate the importance of standing in the way of those workings when important issues are not being addressed. He has proven himself willing to stand apart from the presumed course of action, to question it and criticize it when it deserves criticism.
For those who believe that representative democracy means electing a body to conduct smooth-running meetings and get business done, Carstensen’s approach may seem inconvenient. For those of us who believe that representative democracy demands full public involvement, even when that involvement interferes with the quick operation of government meetings, Carstensen’s approach is vital.
We need someone on the Village Board who is willing to ask inconvenient questions, and to think about issues that aren’t being considered by others on the Board. We need a trustee who will operate in a very different way from the trustees who are already on the Board. Allen Carstensen can serve as that sort of trustee, with a critical eye to give projects a second going over when others approve at first glance.