There are lots of ways to serve the public.

You can deliver meals to shut-ins, volunteer at a youth center, be a scout leader, coach a youth sports team, serve with a faith-based organization, participate during Make-a-Difference Day, or serve on any of several committees and commissions established by your local government.

Some people may be apprehensive about serving on various appointed city commissions, but they shouldn’t be. These groups simply dig into the workings of government and make recommendations for action by the elected body.

These discussions are important even though most commissions don’t make the final decision; the groups are composed of citizens who are interested in how their city works.

I have attended many of these meetings and find the questions that are asked are common-sense responses to the justification the staff is going to make to the City Council.

These meetings always improve the staff report and give the council some assurance that a vetting process has occurred prior to their public hearings and final decision making.

Citizen participation is paramount in assuring this process takes place. In short, our city welcomes and needs your input.

For example, in Lompoc if the electric utility proposes a rate increase in response to an increase in the cost of operating the distribution system, the Utility Commission would carefully examine the reasoning behind the request and then either recommend approval or suggest changes.

The City Council makes the final decision, but the Utility Commission’s input is an important part of the process, and who better to be on the commission than you and your neighbors?

Only one commission is authorized to make decisions: the Planning Commission (PC). According to the City of Lompoc Handbook for Commission, Committee, and Board Members, the PC approves, conditionally approves, or disapproves tentative subdivision maps; development plans or architectural plans, when required, for residential, commercial, industrial, and public facility projects; and conditional use permits and variances pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance.

This is the only group that conducts public hearings and has a city attorney present to assist the commission and assure that all the “i’s” are dotted, and “t’s” crossed.

But finding people willing to serve in these appointed positions has been difficult. Currently, there are 19 open positions on seven different committees or commissions. There are two open positions on the PC.

You would add great value.

According to the 2030 General Plan Housing Element update: “the median income in Lompoc was $57,071,” and “Lompoc’s median age is 33 years old, which is the second youngest in Santa Barbara County.”

This age group (25-45) should care the most because it is their future as citizens of this city that is at stake here.

Your participation is not a waste of time.

Serving the public in a volunteer status is a badge of honor; the person doing it, no matter the function, is paying back for the privilege of living in the community. That person is helping their neighbors and improving the fabric of the city.

To serve, all you must do is contact any number of public or private groups and apply for a position; for City Council appointments, the only qualification is that you live in the council district having an open seat, be 18 years old and a registered voter.

This is your town, and we need to expend some effort to make it better.

“Serving the public” really means you are serving your family and your neighbors.

Open commission positions in the city of Lompoc:

Lompoc commission application:

Council districts: