By JIM CHEEK
For Rantoul Press
"Voters to have say on board make-up" read the headlines on last week’s Rantoul Press. Is that a new concept? Isn’t it the voter who has always determined the board make-up?
Members of Rantoul Residents for Representation petitioned to ask voters if they favor a change in the make-up of our village board in which six districts are established and candidates would run to represent only their district. Candidates are elected at large.
I understand this action is being taken because of a perceived lack of representation to many of our residents. It read that only one trustee lived south of Route 136 prior to the resignation of trustee Rich Medlen.
This suggests that there is some sort of "elitism." Could that be because no one in that section of town chose to throw their hat into the ring? Anyone who has a desire to serve this community can petition and run a campaign to fill a seat if elected.
I have lived in Rantoul for 69 years and watched boards come and go, some good, some not. Effectiveness comes from support not dissension.
The article continues to state that under the district system voters will have better access. Last time I checked, anyone could make an appointment with the mayor or any board member to express concerns or just vent.
I also am a little confused on this accountability issue. Every voter in the village can hold the board accountable by voting them out come next election if not pleased with their performance.
Having said that, please be informed that this same attempt to change our form of government was proposed in 1977. It was a flawed idea then, and I believe it still is. Why? Would you as a voter like to have a choice of three candidates to represent you or just one that may or may not have the interest of the entire village in mind or just their neighborhood?
Also, it is easy to envision six district members trying to decide who gets what for their assigned neighborhoods. I know our village departments provide the same street, police and medical services to all residents, so how are some being underserved? Is there something I am missing?
In closing, remember it is us the voters who will decide our fate. Mom always said, "Home is what you make it." I will again vote "no!" on this attempt to change a better system.
Jim Cheek is a resident of Rantoul.