When it comes to local governance, citizens should have a voice in their representation. That’s why it was good to see the Peosta City Council agree to hold a special election early next year to fill the position of mayor.

Former Mayor Jim Merten’s resignation came abruptly, just days before the Nov. 2 election. As the only candidate on the ballot, he was elected again — and then resigned again. That leaves a void to fill for the entire term.

Council Member Karen Lyons, whose time on the council is nearing an end after she did not seek reelection, cast the lone vote against setting the special election, noting, “It’s easier to appoint.”

Easier, yes. But that’s not a fair representation of the citizens’ wishes.

Peosta is a rapidly growing city with changes in the community landscape happening constantly. Citizens deserve an opportunity to vote on who will best serve as leader in such a pivotal time for the city.

Peosta residents have about a month to decide if they want to run, and almost another month to discern who to vote for, should more than one candidate file. The filing deadline for any resident who wishes to run for mayor will be Dec. 29. Residents can vote early in person at the Dubuque County Auditor’s Office from Jan. 5 to 24. Polls then will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 25 in Peosta.

It’s good the Peosta City Council put the decision of who should be the next mayor where it belongs — in the hands of the voters.

Talk to someone younger than 40 about changes in the LGBTQ+ community, and they likely will be entirely nonplussed. They are of a generation far more accepting of gender identity and sexual orientation differences than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

And that acceptance, thankfully, is growing, according to nationwide surveys. A Gallup poll from earlier this year showed one in six, or 15.9%, of adult Generation Z individuals — noted as people ages 18 to 23 — identify as LGBTQ+. The survey shows 9.1% of millennials, noted in the survey as ages 24 to 39, identify as LGBTQ+.

While those growing numbers contribute to increased awareness and tolerance, so, too, does changing our institutions to broaden protections, services and leadership supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.

The City of Dubuque has been a leader in this area. Dubuque was first recognized for its LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts in 2016 by the Human Rights Campaign with a score of 82 out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index. The score increased to 84 in 2017 and has been at a full 100 points for the past four years, with the most recent announcement coming just last week. Human Rights Campaign released its 2021 Municipal Equality Index, a ranking of more than 500 U.S. cities, including nine in Iowa. The nationwide assessment ranks communities based on the inclusiveness of laws, policies and services for LGBTQ residents and city workers.

Just two others cities in the state that were ranked — Iowa City and West Des Moines — earned the same perfect score. It would be interesting to see how businesses and other institutions would fare with a similar assessment.

City of Dubuque’s leadership in this area makes our community more welcoming, and it’s a rating in which we can all take pride.

As citizens, we would like to think that scammers wouldn’t prey on lonely people who might let their defenses down simply because they are eager for someone to talk to amid the pandemic. But we would be wrong.

That’s exactly the kind of trend that law enforcement has seen in the last year and a half. And this holiday season is ramping up to be prime pickings for fraudsters.

They’ve come a long way since the days of a Nigerian prince emailing you for money. Today’s grifts seem a lot more plausible.

After all, there’s a decent likelihood that a would-be victim is waiting for an update on shipping regarding a package to be delivered. We know plenty of employers are looking for workers, so a seasonal job offer might not sound like a set-up. And lots of people are seeking those hard-to-find items this holiday season.

The age-old adage remains the same: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And you can probably take out the “probably.”

There are precautions that can help reduce the likelihood of scam. Experts suggest:

  • If you get a great email offer from a retailer, go to the company’s website directly. Don’t click on the links in that email.
  • Be sure you’re on a trusted website before making an online purchase.
  • An unexpected call from a business or government could be fraud — especially if they ask for your banking information.

Additionally, no one — really, no one — needs to be paid in gift cards for anything.

This is a good time of year to reach out to elderly friends, neighbors and relatives and spread the word about potential scams. Offer yourself as a sounding board in the case of uncertainty. And visiting with those folks might be just the lift they need this holiday season.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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