Local elections are Tuesday and the community, for the most part, is giving a collective yawn.
Voter apathy seems to be at an all-time high.
The Leavenworth Board of Education race has produced a few letters to the editor and some passion among a small group of voters. Still, two public forums held in the last two weeks – one at City Hall and one at the Riverfront Community Center – failed to garner much interest. There were less than 10 people at either one.
It was even worse for the Leavenworth City Commission forums. Maybe six or seven people, and that was mostly from those helping organize the forums.
The city commission election should be important to civic-minded citizens, or anyone that cares about the community. The commissioners, afterall, decide how we spend our tax funds. They are responsible for the level of city services, our laws and codes, and they can raise or lower our taxes.
Yet, no one in the community seems too fired up about the races. There are relatively few campaign signs or political ads. Not much in the way of door-to-door campaigns. No letters or calls about the candidates to the Times.
As for the candidates themselves, all six commission candidates have good intentions and sincerely wish to serve the community, but they seem to agree on most of the issues, and there's not a lot of contrast between their positions.
Perhaps the voter apathy is a sign that most in the city are pretty satisfied. City Manager Scott Miller and staff do a pretty good job managing budget challenges and setting priorities. Most of the candidates agree on the bigger issues, such as we need to attract more businesses and jobs, develop better transportation routes to and from the city, and that property taxes are too high, but there's not many good ideas on how we can really change anything.
In Lansing, it is much the same. There are four seats up for vote on the city council, but only four people are running, so there isn't even any dialogue on issues facing the city.
Of course, we are preaching to the choir here, so to speak. If you are reading this editorial and the newspaper or online site, research shows you are more likely to be a registered voter, and more likely to actually vote. The question is how to engage the rest of the electorate and citizens.
Normally, we complain about local elections with voter turnout of only 15 percent. This year, we will be lucky to get that much. That's an awfully small group of citizens deciding the leadership of our cities and schools. But, on the other hand, better us than them who don't take the time to get informed.
Page 2 of 2 - See you at the polls Tuesday.