Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Local political races need attention, too

March 19, 2003

Although the yard signs are spreading around town for the various candidates for the April 1 election for school board and city council, to this point there hasn't seemed to be very much interest in the races for some reason.

I have had very few people ask about candidates or, for that matter, anything to do with the openings for three positions on the city council and four for the school board.

Here's hoping that's just because there's a lot going on in the world that is occupying people's minds with the latest "line in the sand" drawn in the Middle East.

But make no mistake -- these elections are important to Baldwin City and the surrounding area. Although the present council has made good strides in bringing Baldwin back up to snuff as far as infrastructure upgrades, etc., there are many more important decisions to make about how the city grows.

As for the school board, there are some extremely hard choices to be made in the near future because of state budget cuts. That in and of itself makes good choices imperative for board members. The concept of nothing is more important than our childrens' education puts even more emphasis on the need to have high-quality, dedicated board members.

Maybe the lack of political talk on the streets is because there weren't enough candidates to force a primary election. That's different from two years ago when last we went down this path. Also, two of the school board positions have no opposition. Blaine Cone and Stacy Cohen are already in. They will make good board members.

The other two positions have incumbent Curtis Trarbach against Scott Lauridsen and incumbent Alison Bauer facing Eugene Kivett. Those are interesting races.

On the city council side, incumbents Ted Brecheisen Jr. and Todd Cohen threw their hats back in the ring. Political newcomers Nancy Brown, Robert Myers and Steve Pierce have chosen to serve their city as candidates as well. Three of them will make it and it will be very interesting to see which three.

Last week the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce announced forums to allow residents and school district patrons the chance to publicly hear what the candidates stand for. The city council forum will be March 26 and the school board forum is the next night on March 27. Both forums will be at 7 p.m. in the audio visual room at Owens Musical Arts Building at Baker University.

As many people as possible need to attend. Because of the timing of the forums, which are just days ahead of the April 1 general election, the Signal will be unable to report what transpires at the forums before the election. However, should there be major revelations or other big items of interest from the forums, the Signal Web site will be the place to find it.

In the meantime, I hope voters will seek out the candidates if they have specific questions or want to share their beliefs with those running. After the election is over, it's too late to help guide who we want to be making the very tough decisions to be made ahead.

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