Speaking Personally

A circus that saved the city?
Say what you will about Mountain View’s current mayor, Donnie Pruett, but his time as a public servant has inspired so many people to get involved in municipal politics.
This is a great thing.
This newspaper regularly covers three municipalities, and Mountain View is the only town that has citizens regularly present at City Council meetings ready to make their voices heard. Are most of them mad, sometimes rightfully so? You bet they are. But in Mountain View, if you’re not mad right now, you must not be paying attention. 
Practically every week, I have someone in my office angry at something the mayor has done or hasn’t done.
First it was the abrupt dismissal of the City Administrator, then the funding crisis at the library. Next was the state of the golf course; after that the pool closing. Most recently, the vacant alderman seat had citizens up in arms. 
I do not cover any other towns where city politics get such a reaction. 
That’s not a feather in the cap of Mountain View city government.
I’m often the only guest present at regular City Council meetings in Willow Springs. City Administrator Beverly Hicks may be the single most competent woman I have ever met, and she does a great job running the town and keeping the elected aldermen informed. Very few times have there been concerned citizens present, and when there are, the concern is usually individual to the speaker. There are no groups of outraged citizens calling the city government on the carpet in Willow Springs. Maybe this is because they are largely doing a fine job. As a professional observer of their work, I find very little to criticize. If anyone else has concerns, they are not showing up at meetings.
But maybe it’s because no one is paying attention. And that is not good.
City-level politics are more likely to affect your daily life than any other form of government. Your sales tax dollars stay where they are spent. Do you know what your city is doing with your money? 
Last April, voters for city positions in Mountain View outnumbered the people voting in Willow almost 2 to 1.
Granted, there is no political circus in Willow Springs, and there was only briefly any drama in West Plains at the time of the mask mandates last year. On the other hand, you will find four separate articles in this issue reporting on the Mountain View City Council meeting on November 8. And though the particulars of what took place were messy, at least they were fascinating.
I have no real concerns about the future of Mountain View. Its rapid growth over the past several decades suggests a continuing bright horizon for the community. 
Above that, I see a town where the people show up, run for political office, and care deeply about the community. I see a commitment to what is best for the city in the mayor, too. Not so long ago, Mountain View couldn’t get anyone to serve as mayor. Now, the city has a mayor making headlines and enemies.
It absolutely is a circus at Mountain View City Hall.
A circus that may have saved the town.
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Howell County News

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