Thursday, March 3, 2011

And They're OFF! -OR- Ahhhhh, Local Politics

The quadrennial exercise popularity pageant is FINALLY getting underway here. Election day is April 5th. This Saturday will be the unofficial official beginning of the 30 day dash. The March 5th St. Patrick's Day Parade. The weather forecast is for a wintry mix, cold drizzle and flurries. Good news for the bars, taverns, snugs, restaurants and bistros that line the mile long parade path down Main St., bad news for trying to gain public exposure for a campaign.

Since the filing phase in December that unveiled 15 contenders, one withdrew voluntarily and three names have been stricken from the field by electoral challenge. A three-person electoral board, made up of current elected/appointed officials ruled against the wannabes saying their paperwork just didn't conform to the accepted guidelines. A change in local election law eliminated the primary that would have culled the ballot options to 8, leaving us with 11 candidates for the 4 commissioner chairs.

The undercard races for Park and School boards are also all contested for the first time in several cycles. You might think there would be some buzz or excitement in the air? After all, these four entities are charged with spending ~$200 million tax dollars; ostensibly to provide needed services to the townsfolk.


That's not apathy. That would that presume people know, but don't care about what's transpiring. It presumes that local government and local elections seek to engage the citizenry. That local media has contributed to a basic, objective, understanding of the issues and players. That peoples' lives interact with these entities, in meaningful ways, on a daily basis. That incumbents and challengers alike want to get their message out to the broadest possible audience. Pssssshawww!

Odd, that a town that actually advertises "Big City Access- Small Town Charm" puts its dysfunction on display in these dog and pony shows. Signs, glossy mailers containing the most generic bios and buzzwords, reveal politics that's all show/no go.

Allegedly, candidate websites, twitter and facebook are allowing more "interaction"?
I've visited them all and witnessed zero interaction.

In four weeks, a quarter (or so) of the registered voters will make their choices known and our fortunes will reside in the most popular hands. Whoopeeeeeeeeeee!

If it all smacks of middle-school class elections? Tough titties bucko.
On Wednesday April 6th, I will rise and gnaw through the restraints once more and try to find the silver lining in the next four years.

1 comment:

amber ladeira said...

Dear Watcher,

Hope all is well
with you and yours, as always.

Once again, your comments about
our charming little village are
spot on. (We've lost population
recently, I read....hmmn.)
I changed my mind about coming to
political events this week, because
I haven't so far seen what I've
hoped for in the local political
arena. To the Candidates:
(1) Tell us what problems you see
and how you'd try to address them,
but don't PROMISE or guarantee any

(2) After you've told us about your hopes and plans, explain what
there is about you and your experience which qualifies you to
take on these thorny issues. Don't just state your resume' and volunteer commitments!

(3) STOP listening to campaign
managers/advisers who tell you to
leave out the details. (Someone we
like here locally was advised this
way. --Sufferin' Succotash!)

But back to you, Watcher:
The silver lining for you are the
people who love you, and the rest
of us who value, admire and respect your writing. Your influence is NOT negligible. (I'd love to talk about computer early days with you sometime, seems you've mentioned expertise there.)

Keep the faith, buddy.