IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE INFORMED, ACTIVE OF EVENTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
A great reminder today from the Gainesville Sun. As much of the editorial specifically mentions the upcoming municipal elections there, I'm choosing to excerpt the first part of the newspaper's opinion because it is a reminder that we all should be as informed and active in local issues as we tend to be what's happening in Tallahassee or Washington, DC.
Remember, many times City or County Commissioners turn out to be future state legislators, governors, congressmen and senators. So it's important to look and listen at their actions closely at City Hall so that we can truly determine if they deserve a promotion.
When it comes to politics, people have a tendency to focus on the "Big Show." Presidential elections typically produce the biggest turnouts, followed by governors' races and congressional elections.
And that's not surprising. Getting the attention of the electorate is largely a function of raising and spending money, and national and statewide candidates tend to attract the big bucks. And too, thanks to CNN and the nightly network news, events in Washington, and to a lesser extent, Tallahassee, tend to preoccupy our attention more than what's going on across town.
And that's a shame, because what goes on across town - or more specifically, in City Hall - can impact our daily lives just as much, or perhaps even more, than what goes on in the White House and Congress.
The people we elect to run our city government decide whether or not we will have adequate parks, how well our streets will be maintained, how many police officers to hire, what sort of new development should be approved and so on.
And yet, while presidential elections can produce turnouts of upwards of 70 percent, City Commission races rarely motivate more than 20 percent of the electorate to vote.