To the editor:
On Jan. 7, Chad Lawhorn wrote the following in his column: “City commissioners back away from previous pay raise proposal, but still boost salaries.”
“Commissioners unanimously approved the new pay structure, but some commissioners expressed concern that the new salaries still wouldn’t be enough to attract a broader diversity of candidates to commission races. There have been concerns expressed that people who work in jobs that pay hourly wages are at a disadvantage in serving on the commission.”
While I agree with our commissioners that the increased salary will make the prospect of public service more feasible to a wider pool of potential candidates, I would like to repeat a point I made at an earlier commission meeting. I believe that setting campaign spending limits is also necessary to achieve a more level playing field in our local political scene.
It seems rather obvious to me that the same people who might have financial reservations about serving on the commission would be equally hard-pressed to fund lavish campaigns — whether from their own pockets, or the pockets of their presumably non-wealthy peers. Running for office would be less daunting at the outset if all candidates faced the same spending cap. Expendable income (or the lack thereof) should not be a major stumbling block in any citizen’s desire to become involved in city politics.