Ten Alamo Improvement Association members are running for six board positions this month and ballots, which have been mailed to every house in Alamo, are due back by May 15.
"I encourage those who aren't involved to get involved. I believe AIA is the best overview of our community," AIA President Preston Taylor said.
AIA is an independent group that advises the county on planning and development issues as they arise in the unincorporated area. The organization serves as a loud local voice in a place that some residents feel is at risk of losing its identity under county leadership.
"AIA is vital and important to a place like Alamo," said Steve Mick, who is running for a board member position. He already serves on the Alamo Landscape and Lighting Committee for county service area Zone 36, and the Parks and Recreation Committee for R-7A.
Should controversial planning issues arise in the future, the AIA board will be the community's final say, said Taylor. In part, this is why he is encouraging everyone in Alamo to vote - whether or not they belong to the organization.
"Someone who has bought a home in Alamo already has a huge investment in the community," Taylor said.
Board members typically put five to six hours a month into the position, and active committee members put in 10-12 hours a month. People who take over leadership positions within AIA are often later in their careers or retired, Taylor said.
"There's a learning curve. A good board member usually develops over time," said Mike Gibson, who serves on AIA's transportation committee.
The organization is nonprofit and the board is unpaid, although the responsibilities some members have taken on are comparable to a paid position, Taylor noted.
Candidates should have the willingness and ability to devote time to the position and they should posses a passionate desire to protect the rural ambiance of the area, Taylor said.
"That's a paramount quality," Gibson said.
After Alamo residents vote for the board members, the board elects the president internally. Every other year, board members must run for reelection.
"People tend to stay involved in AIA for a number of years - it's easy to make it a habit," Taylor said.
This year's candidates are Robert Bickel, Jack Behseresht, Glenn R. Brown, David Ciapponi, Stephen A. Goodman, Larry Levit, Steve Mick, Grace Schmidt, Preston Taylor and John Zarling.
Residents who aren't familiar with candidates can e-mail AIA board members to get to know them and their stance on local issues by visiting www.alamoca.org.
"We do our best to make it a total community organization," Taylor said.
Contact Natalie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org