Last night I went to a debate between our prospective alderman (city council) candidates. Our current alderwoman is not running for reelection and a total of five candidates have rushed to take her place. Since I did not know any of the candidates or what they stood for, I figured I had better do my homework before voting in a critical election.
Critical election Andrew? Aren’t you being a bit hyperbolic.
Not really. While the local elections don’t get as much press coverage as say the presidential election, whomever is voted in will likely have a greater impact on our day to day lives than the President of the United States would. The city council works with (or against) the city mayor and directs the city staff, the folks who actually make the clock chime.
There are a number of hot topic issues right now in our community, most of them fiscally related. While the race is nonpartisan, it was very clear that the candidates had different ideas of how to best solve those problems. Ideas that fell pretty neatly into established partisan lines.
One candidate wanted to increase personnel in the code enforcement office so “people could have safer homes, and there is lost revenue from fines not being issued.” Another candidate wanted to block city involvement in funding the construction of a hotel at the expense of the tax payers.
As an avid DIYer with an older home, do I really want code enforcement ringing my doorbell every time I pick up a hammer? Probably not. Do I want our already highest in the nation property taxes to increase to pay for a city run hotel? Absolutely not.
An advantage to local elections is that your vote has more weight to it. In the last alderman election in 2011, the winner was decided by only 63 votes. Voter turnout was only 10%, far less than the turnout for a national election.
So instead of bitching about how stupid and terrible your elected officials are, get out and vote. If your candidate wins, great! If your candidate loses, then you can bitch and complain. 😀