Sayre: Start Getting Involved With Your Local Government By Just Showing Up

On May 14th, after a lengthy City Council vacancy interview process during the special City Council meeting and a City Council vote during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, Michael Carroll was selected at a vote of 3 to 1, with Council Member Fox opposing, to serve as the City Council member to fill the vacant City Council Seat.  His term of office will be 13 months.  Should he wish to serve after the expiration of his term, as it is with the other City Council members, he will have to run for office and be elected by Irvine voters.

As we operate under a representative democracy political system, our elected representatives work for their constituents, the Irvine residents. Irvine residents have the responsibility to provide oversight as to how well the City Council members and their appointed commissioners conduct city business. By participating in, and thereby becoming familiar with, the decision making process, voters can judge for themselves as to how well their representatives have represented and supported their interests. Our vote is their performance evaluation.

Representatives of the entities that do business with the city attend every commission and city council meetings to participate in the discussion of the agenda items that concern their business interests. They discern which council members best supports their interests and thus do what they can to influence the re-election of council members who are most supportive.

The oversight role of Irvine residents should be to review commission and city council agendas and support documents, obtainable on the City of Irvine website, attend the commission and city council meetings, and speak during public comment about their ideas and concerns regarding the agenda items. Residents should also speak up during public comment about non-agendized issues of concern and provide suggestions for resolutions. Irvine voters will get to know their City Council members, and the City Council members will get to know the issues that are important to Irvine voters.  Irvine voters will not be dependent on campaign signs and flyers when deciding which candidates to vote for.  The voters will know which council members best represent their interests and will vote accordingly.

Irvine commissions are:  Community Services Commission; Finance Commission; Planning Commission; Senior Citizens Council; and the Transportation Commission.  Look up their meeting dates and times and the agendas for commission and City Council meetings on the Irvine City Website. You can obtain the support documents for agenda items by clicking on the agenda items.

Please come join me at commission and City Council meetings.

Susan Sayre is a long time Irvine resident.  She has watched Irvine grow and evolve for decades Susan has a passion for working to enhance the democratic process in Irvine and is involved with political oversight. Susan is a member of the Orange County League of Women Voters and of the Irvine Watchdog Citizen’s Group.

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org