To the Editor:

With the Philomath News declaring the local November 2022 election as story No. 1 of the year, I can’t pass up offering my perspective, as the unsuccessful contender who lost by one vote.

First, it’s not the greatest feeling. Second, it prompted introspection about why I ran in the first place and what I came to appreciate over the three terms I served on the Philomath City Council. 

Civic duty motivated me to run for council. Having served on the city’s budget committee, I was impressed by regular folks selflessly volunteering time and talent to a subject in which most had no practical experience. As an average Dave, I didn’t appreciate that I could be part of such an important process. The experience provided the impetus to run for council. 

Once in office, the real hands-on education began, and it never ends. 

Serving as a councilor is like aspiring to win a swim meet on behalf of the city, but you need to learn how to swim first. You’re comfortable with water, having waded out and splashed around a bit. You know the meet is in deeper water, but you tell yourself you know what you’re doing … until you don’t, which is much sooner than you thought. 

Fortunately, instructors in the form of the city manager, city attorney and city recorder, and department heads, are there to guide and support you. With their knowledgeable assistance, you stop swallowing water, develop a reliable stroke, practice proper lap etiquette, gain proficiency and appreciate you are swimming as part of a team; not as an individual. Success comes from the contribution you make to the team. You discover the point was not to get there first but for the team to arrive all at once. 

The City Council is a collaborative team not just among its members but also with the city manager, who oversees municipal operations. Additionally, the city manager proposes and guides councilors on city affairs as well as implementing council decisions. While there are numerous factors, the community wins when collaboration includes respect for the council/city manager form of government, trust, forgiveness of honest mistakes, active listening, avoiding dominating proceedings and ability to set aside ego.

Here’s hoping the 2023-24 council collaborates successfully!

David Low

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