Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

Election nears for Baldwin

March 31, 2005

In a matter of days, Baldwin voters will cast their ballots in an election that could reshape the face of both governing bodies, the school board and city council.

There are four positions open on both the council and the board. But, if Tuesday night's attendance at a forum for school board members is any indication, there isn't much interest. Around 30 people attended and part of those were Baker students who were required to be there because of class.

Baldwin City Council member Tony Brown, who was at the forum, hopes there will be a better turnout for the council forum Thursday and, even more importantly, at the polls on Tuesday.

"I wish more people would have been there, especially given the importance of school decisions in the life of the community," said Brown. "The forum attendance may reflect a larger irony of the current political process. Voters tend to get more excited about national elections, perhaps because of the scope of the issues.

"But, the government decisions that really affect our daily lives are made at the local level," he said. "People like to talk about immigration policy and national health care, but they have very little control over the decisions made on those issues. The decisions made by local city councils and school boards are not only the ones that affect us every day, but also decisions on which citizens can have some input."

Thursday's forum will be at 7 p.m. in the audiovisual room at Baker University's Owens Musical Arts Building. The forum will be conducted by the Baker political science department. Candidates expected to be on hand are incumbent Mayor Ken Hayes and his challenger, Gary Walbridge; incumbent council member Amy Cleavinger, Doyle Jardon and Jason Mock, who are vying for two seats on the council; and Brown, who is running unopposed.

Brown hopes there will be more people at the forum, but he also hopes they turn out where it really counts on Tuesday.

"It may be that 'all politics is local,' but I think city politics may be more local than politics at the national level," he said. "I hope the citizens of Baldwin City recognize the importance of the upcoming election and get out to vote Tuesday."

He also wasn't alone in his hopes for stronger participation. One of the candidates from the Tuesday forum also wants people to be informed on the issues.

"Baldwin is facing some big decisions about leadership, and these forums offer a great opportunity to base those decisions on what really matters," said Ande Parks, who is running for re-election to the school board. "It should be about issues, not yard signs."

A brief glimpse at all the candidates can be found on pages A-8 and A-9 of today's Signal. Complete profiles of the candidates, which have previously been published in the Signal, can be found at the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com. Up-to-date election results will also be available on the site Tuesday night, as always.

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