Lots of people--even people who take their civic responsibilities seriously--neglect local elections. Years ago I heard someone say that local elections are even more important than national ones. At least they have more direct and detailed impact on everyday life. With that in mind, I've decided I'd better vote today.
Today is municipal election day in Utah (that's my understanding anyway), and so it's the day to vote in Provo, Utah, where I live, for mayor and city council.
John Curtis is running for re-election as mayor. He has several opponents, some of whom might be OK--an idealistic college student, another man who has run for mayor many times and who might be an interesting change of pace but probably wouldn't be as effective in terms of basic competence . . . , etc. I really haven't looked carefully at all the candidates. I believe Curtis has done a good job and plan to vote for him.
There doesn't appear to be a race this year in my city council district, though there are races in some of the others.
But there is a race for a city-wide council member. I've looked at the websites of all the candidates, and, in my view, there are three that would be OK and two that could be disastrous. If one of the disastrous candidates is elected, it will be in part because so few vote in local elections and because so few pay much attention or get informed.
Here are the websites of the three I think would not be disasters:
As I've looked at the sites, it appears to me all not only are sincere (so I take it are the other two, the ones I don't favor) but also seem capable and have wise and insightful things to say. I'm grateful these folks have been willing to run for office and, if elected, serve.
One of the three stands out for me a bit, in part because of his own views and qualifications, but also because of the people supporting him, several of whom I know quite well--Lewis Billings (I was his counselor in a local stake presidency for several years), John and Susan Tanner (John is a colleague of mine in BYU's English Department, and John and Susan are part of a book group my wife and I have belonged to for over 20 years), and Lenore Davis and Patti Stirling (members of the same book group). Another endorser is Cynthia Dayton, a former city council member and daughter of Welby Ricks (a stake patriarch and member of my ward) and mother of Lindsay Spencer (another ward member--she just gave birth a few days ago).
The candidate is Dave Sewell, and the page with endorsements is http://www.davesewell.org/supporters/. Lewis Billings, who likes to make lists, says:
If you will take the time to get to know him you will find him to be:
(By the way--this is me again--for voting information in Provo, go to http://provo.org/elections.main.html.)
Honestly, I wish I could vote for more than one of the city-wide council candidates: I think several of them could make great contributions, and they would bring a diversity of perspectives. But, alas, one of the points of voting is to narrow down the list of our representatives to a manageable size.
My main reason for writing this blog post is to encourage everyone to think local--to be aware that you benefit from, and can also be threatened by, decisions made at the local level; to remember that your side walks, roads, garbage pickup, recycling, power, water, the quality of your neighborhoods and schools, and much, much more are affected by the people you elect to local offices.