My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot last Thursday. The topic is, of course, the upcoming May local elections, the candidates for which I posted here. As I mentioned in the article, there are two upcoming candidate forums in Norfolk:
- Tuesday, April 15, Granby High School Auditorium, 7pm to 8:30pm – Mayoral candidates and Ward 5 candidates
- Thursday, April 17, Book T. Washington High School Auditorium, 7pm to 8:30 pm – Ward 3 and Ward 4 candidates
I still believe, as I outlined here, that May elections are better for getting candidates who are focused on local issues. And the bringing of partisan politics into non-partisan elections – here’s looking at you, Chesapeake – is another sure-fire way to mess things up: next thing you know, city council and school board candidates will be offering their opinions on the Affordable Care Act, as if they have any control over federal law. Seriously: don’t we have enough partisan battles already?
I do hope that the competition in the races encourages more voters to participate. As I wrote in my first regular op-ed for the paper:
Who do you think will be more responsive to you — the guy in the White House or the guy down the street who serves on the council? Think about it: those council members make decisions that affect a large part of your daily life, not to mention a large part of your pocketbook. They set real estate tax rates and water and sewer rates; decide how much the cable tax should be, how much to invest in the schools, how to zone property; and make rules about how high your neighbor’s grass can be. The list goes on and on.
Here’s the secret: The closer government is to us, the more it affects us and the more we can affect it. The more people participate, the more responsive those elected to represent us have to be. Ours is a representative government. If those elected aren’t representing our interests, we have the power to fix it. It’s called an election.
And we have an election on May 6. The choice is yours.
My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.Follow @vpaige