As expected, the Artesia City Council canceled the upcoming November election last Wednesday and appointed the only two candidates, incumbent council member Tony Lima and Planning Commissioner Miguel Canales, to the two open council seats.
Canales will not take his seat until December, when the council reorganizes and selects a new mayor.
This is the second time in a decade Artesia has canceled an election, which saved the city $40,000. Only the three incumbents whose seats were up ran in the 2005 election.
Mayor Victor Manalo congratulated Lima and Canales, but expressed concern about a lack of civic participation from the community.
“I keep telling everybody that we’re happy saving some money but I think there’s a little part inside of me that’s wondering not that we don’t have wonderful candidates stepping up to run for Council but it does concern me that people don’t want to run,” he said.
Councilwoman Sally Flowers also congratulated the two for “walking in” to the council, but added her reasons for the lack of candidates in this year’s election.
“There’s so many problems locally with the state, with funding, with everything,” she said. “Who wants to jump into that other than Miguel [Canales]?”
Manalo, however, was hopeful that more residents would be engaged in local government as he cited a recent poll he read that people in general trust local elected officials more than state and federal elected officials.
“I always think there’s an opportunity for us to really engage people on a city level,” he said. “People see us around the community and they know the decisions we make are impacting them."
With their positions finally confirmed, Lima and Canales told Patch that their main priorities are getting businesses to set up shop in Artesia.
“By easing restrictions, we can help create more businesses and wealth in this city,” said Lima, who wants to reduce the red tape and lower business fees.
Canales also told Patch he will work to ensure that the city attracts more people to Artesia by setting up events like a monthly art walk. He also wants to lure businesses that would encourage residents to shop locally throughout the week.
“We don’t have something like a Staples in this town,” he said. “We have a lot of jewelry stores. As far as necessities go, we don’t have much around here.”