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In 458 B.C., the young Roman Republic faced war against a neighboring Italian tribe. The Roman army sent to battle the Aequians and Sabines was besieged, so the Roman Senate nominated former consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus to serve as dictator, giving him extraordinary powers.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

Cincinnatus drafted an army, crushed the rival tribes in battle and returned to Rome. Unlike the power-hungry consuls or emperors of later Roman history, Cincinnatus resigned the ultimate power as dictator 15 days later and returned to his farm. Some 19 years later, Cincinnatus was again named dictator to save the city. He put down the coup and again resigned to return to his farm. To the Romans, Cincinnatus was the perfect politician — one who used supreme power to conduct the people’s business, then leave office once the job was done.

Civic duty and public service in a republic is a noble calling, not a lifetime career path. Legislatively imposed term limits for elected office would seem as odd to republican Romans as it was to the Founding Fathers of the young American republic.

On Wednesday, March 19, Sedona Mayor Rob Adams announced he would not be running for a fourth term as mayor. Earlier this week, Sedona City Councilman Dan McIlroy stopped into our newsroom and told me that he promised to serve just one term and plans to honor his word and not run for reelection.

For the rest of Sedona, that means the 2014 Sedona City Council election will be wide open. We encourage residents to campaign. Previous council elections boiled down to four candidates running for three open seats. In the last election, the mayor ran unopposed. What should be a contest between a pool of the city’s best minds vying for just a few seats instead becomes a game of Duck Duck Goose to see which one of four won’t be elected.

This city is filled with people espousing their opinions, yet when election time comes around, most do not consider running for office. A city this vocal and opinionated should have 20 candidates for council and five for mayor in every election.

Council members earn $450 a month while the mayor earns $650, so most candidates in recent years have been retirees who don’t need to financially survive on that income, but it means council decisions reflect the views of Sedona’s older demographic. But a council should represent all the voices of a city, including young people, working parents and business owners, like other municipalities in the Verde Valley. Combined with a part-time job, a resident of any age could live comfortably while serving on council.

Running for council can be done on the cheap. There are plenty of community-sponsored forums, debates as well as coverage by the Sedona Red Rock News to get one’s message out even if one can’t pay for mailers and campaign signs.

Candidates can pull packets from the Sedona City Clerk on Monday, April 28, and they have until Wednesday, May 28, to collect a minimum of 116 and maximum of 232 signatures from registered voters living in city limits to be placed on the ballot.

We encourage our city’s best minds to run for office. Make Sedona the city you think it should be.


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