It’s that happy time of year when we all have an opportunity to take out our hostilities on incumbents and candidates of various parties, districts, city councils, etc. It’s time to vote.

It’s wise to support someone we perceive to be the very best for the job. I like to think of voters as employers. Thus, I don’t think any of us will argue that as employers, we would not hire anyone who does not have the necessary background, skills and work ethic.

That’s sort of how this process of voting should work. Unfortunately, there is an elephant in the room — party politics or, as I like to call it, herd-instinct party identification. Many of us vote with a party simply because it’s in our genes, blindly pursuing the superficial outlines and icons of a given group.

We also have to deal with our own lazy approach to research, resisting lies and all the typical election-year outpourings of rhetoric that ultimately mean little in practice.

Money is a huge issue. In order to communicate with potential supporters, candidates and incumbents must look to media that is available to the largest number of voters. Of course, that requires lots of money. In excess of $5 billion has been spent just for the mid-term election.

But small, local elections are critical. In many cases, they are indicators of which way our institutions will turn.

If that is the case, Valley residents have a great responsibility to know for whom they are voting and why. We have to dig deeply and bypass the rhetoric for information and truly understand and appreciate the individuals and institutions that will impact our daily lives.

An excellent example of this process is the election in Santa Ynez for members of the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation Improvement District 1 (ID1), which serves the communities of Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Ballard and Solvang, with approximately 6,737 customers, excluding Solvang.

Having recovered a few years ago from an attempted coup that cost the district and consumers lots of money, the board has since stabilized water sourcing, distribution and quality, a costly process.

The current board has an aggregate of approximately 50 years’ experience. None of the members is desirous of spending money on yard signs and self-aggrandizing publishing. Board member information is available on this website: www.syrwd.org/syrwd-board-members

The challengers have not provided their resumes or access to their backgrounds. For example, if you are a customer of the ID1, go to: www.votersedge.org.

Fill in your address and zip code. Click on “find my ballot” and scroll to the last item, Brad Joos. Notice there is a lot of information about Joos. His challenger has not bothered to provide any information.

Given the critical nature of water in this remarkable period of drought, water is an elixir of life for all of us. So, one would hope that voters will not be apathetic, will diligently research each candidate in this race and vote according to obvious criteria.

This investment of time and small effort separates us from ignorance, passivity and significant mistakes.

Lee Rosenberg is a Santa Ynez Valley resident.

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