To the Editor:

To the Editor:

In the past 10 years, Clintonville has experienced a remarkable degree of change. We've seen a left-turn lane installed at North Broadway and High, multiple new restaurants and numerous housing developments. We've had passionate discussions about gypsy moths, cellphone towers, pools, liquor licenses, building demolitions and rats.

We have been fortunate to have the Clintonville Area Commission to serve as both a platform and guide for these lively conversations.

Experience tells me that one of the greatest aspects of living in Clintonville is being surrounded by passionate people who have a desire to engage in and support their communities. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered only a few applications for the upcoming area commission election May 7 had been picked up from the Whetstone library.

The commission is the perfect opportunity for residents young and old to participate in the democratic process and contribute to the conversations that make Clintonville a great place to live. It's a small time commitment -- only one Thursday a month. However, if you want to be more involved, there are additional opportunities to serve on committees or participate in community events.

Would you like Clintonville to be more progressive in its approach to environmental issues? Perhaps you care about historic preservation or the traffic on High Street. Maybe you want more parks and fewer parking lots. Or affordable housing. Or community events. Do you care about the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center? The commission can act as a strong advocate for its mission.

Many of my friends are strong advocates for alternative transport. Want to see protected bike lanes on High Street? Run for the area commission and make your case.

Our democracy functions best when everyone participates. We need as many voices and perspectives as possible involved in policy discussions so we can arrive at the most balanced and fair decisions possible. We have a wealth of passion and interest in our neighborhood, but we also need formal participation.

So participate. Run for office. Pick up an election packet at the Whetstone library today.

The deadline to turn in candidate applications is April 1.

Here's a link to the districts: Districts 3, 6 and 8 are up for election.

Peter Niswander