Special to The Ely Times

Decisions are made by those who show up, but Ely’s and White Pine County’s public at large regularly fail to show up to city council and county commission meetings which results in elected officials regularly acting without public input and with little accountability. 

Granted, city and county meetings are… boring… and long, but these governing bodies are making decisions that are affecting your day to day life.  When the public doesn’t show up, complaining about matters on social media after the fact does nothing to remedy the ordinance that was voted down or the new ordinance that was passed. 

On the county’s side of things, for example: last week’s December 11th County Commission meeting saw four members of the White Pine County community had applied for three seats on the Regional Planning Commission, a board which will provide consistent and uniform zoning and planning regulations throughout the city and county to help facilitate and coordinate business and housing development.  None of the candidates were accepted by the commissioners and the seats remain vacant with applications now being considered until December 30th for potentially filling those seats during that day’s County Commission meeting. 

The people who apply before and show up on December 30th may be selected for a board that will be responsible for making serious and long lasting decisions with ramifications on White Pine County’s and Ely’s future economic and population growth.

People need to show up and volunteer or it will be the same few people who have been making decisions for the majority for decades who continue to do so. White Pine County needs residents with strong roots, education and relevant experience, who are business oriented with a vested interest in the betterment of this community to lead, rather than those whom run and enter public offices to push vendettas or personal agendas or are mentally stuck doing things how things have always been done.

White Pine County needs people with fresh perspectives, foresight and vision focused on sustainability and economic responsibility, to put aside reservations or excuses and step up to improve the quality of life in our county. White Pine County needs people to become leaders who are diplomatic, with sound judgement, and who can plan for the next thirty years down the road for the betterment of generations that will follow.

It is past time for the next generation of community leaders to take up leadership roles and participate. We need representation that reflects the changing demographics of young, bright, eager entrepreneurs, who have grown up in the borders of this county or have come here to make a home and know what things have been like and what things could be like in the future  We need all segments of the community to get involved, rather than the one segment that has been involved so far. 

2020 will bring many new opportunities for many new individuals to rise to the occasion and usher in a brand new era in White Pine County.   Below is a list of offices up for election in 2020.  Even if you have never held public office but are willing to collaborate with others interested in improving our county, please consider running.  If you can commit to reading information packets and preparing for meetings unlike others in elected positions, please consider running. If you can plan for long term solutions to improving our community instead of choosing the easy or  shortsighted options or what benefits self interests, please consider running.  Show up. Make decisions for the good of the majority of our community.

Inside of the county, the City of Ely City Council also needs its residents to show up when decisions are being made.  This past September city council meetings demonstrated what type of city council Ely now has governing the most remote city in the continental United States.  Residents need to be involved.  Since those September meetings two months ago, this new council nearly passed changing the time of the meetings to 1:00 pm; Ely City Council has taken up OHV legislation, Short Term Rental regulation, appointing people to the joint Regional Planning Commission, and the Council has also shrugged off, tabled, stalled, and all but refused to accept a Code of Conduct. 

It appears that the Ely City Council is the only city council in the silver state operating without a code of conduct and if they have their way, without the public demanding it, this council will vote down the Code of Conduct agenda item and operate free from accountability or consequence.  

On January 9th, the Ely City Council will attempt a second reading and adoption of the ordinance requiring the council create a code of conduct, which aligns with NRS.  If you believe this council, and every city council that follows in their footsteps, should operate under guidelines, policies, and rules of conduct similar to every other city council in the state and country, you need to show up and tell them directly.

Decisions are made by those who show up.  If you don’t show up, don’t participate, don’t speak up and don’t allow your voice to be heard, don’t exercise your right to vote or run for office, don’t bring forward new viewpoints, then ultimately, you don’t get to complain after the fact about the decisions that were made for you.

Regional Planning Commission applications are due in to the White Pine County Clerk no later than December 30th at 9:00 am. Interested applicants should plan to attend the special Commission meeting on December 30th at 1:00 pm in the County Library  for a brief interview with the Commission.

Start thinking about how you can get involved now.  Here is a list of other offices in White Pine County Up For Election in 2020. For more information, contact the White Pine County Clerk/Registrar of Voters @ 775-293-6509 or the Nevada Secretary of State at 775-684-5705 or visit http://nvsos.gov. Or https://www.whitepinecounty.net/163/2020-Offices-Up-For-Election.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER – Seat 2,  Seat 3, & Seat 4

BAKER SEWER/WATER TV G.I.D. – Seat B2, Seat B3, & Seat B4

HOSPITAL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES – Seat 3& Seat 5

MCGILL-RUTH SEWER/WATER G.I.D. – Seat B & Seat E

SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES – Seat B, Seat C, Seat D, Seat F, & Seat G

SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT  – Seat AA, Seat BB, Seat CC, & Seat EE

WHITE PINE TELEVISION DISTRICT #1 – Seat A, Seat B, & Seat