Over the past week, the nomination period for candidates has opened and many have already pulled papers for a run at public office this fall. So far, there is a healthy stable of folks who have already taken steps, but many more are needed.
Good candidates are needed, but more importantly we need both good and smart people to hold local public office. People who will put community first and look to make things better for as many people as possible while working within the confines of federal, state, and local laws. We also deserve candidates who not only defy the Democrat vs. Republican party rhetoric for the good of the community, but rather people who can begin rebuilding a community by bridging the political and social media divide currently going on.
The community has split for a variety of reasons which include where people stand on national tone, the direction Sacramento is headed, and the tolerance level one has for those already holding local public office–throw on top of that district elections for the first time in many races. Finally, we deserve people who can unify the community, not politicians who are looking at their seat as the latest steppingstone to higher office or a better job.
Sadly, anyone can sit on a city council, school board or special district and cast a vote. But the community should no longer tolerate mediocrity because that has proven to be a failing formula which has showed its ugly self during COVID-19. With the impacts COVID-19 is happening, we sure as heck need to demand better from our future elected office holders.
Just a few examples:
- Public Safety: With city budgets being slashed due to loss of revenue, how would one propose ensuring police department service levels are not sacrificed? Throw in all of the state/federal law changes and national tone, this will continue to be a hot topic for future city councils. What social changes in public safety are open for debate and what are not?
- Economic Development: Is the goal bringing in new business or maintaining what you already have so you don’t have empty buildings? What zoning and ordinances need to be reviewed to ensure business survival. What local programs/funding should be provided?
- Schools: Has Distance Learning improved from the spring and what is the reopening plan. The timeline of an election does not work well for school board candidates because the school year will already have started.
That is just three issues of thousands that will come up over the next few months. But if anyone has solid ideas when it comes to just those three issues, it will go along way in restoring faith in local government in their respective races.
Contra Costa County across the board deserves community members across the board who will step up that will not only run for office, but will put in the time to work on solutions while having the mental comprehension to understand budgets, zoning, ordinances, rules, general plans all while being able to build relationships and trust.
For those considering a run at public office, ask yourself the following three questions:
- Why do you want to run?
- Can you do a better job than the incumbent/other candidates?
- What is your plan should you get elected?
As we approach the August 7 deadline, campaign season will soon get “silly” with a lot of rhetoric that may or not be true based on perspective and a lot of promises that may or may not come true. Given the tone we are at, thick skin will be needed and “Karen’s” may not want to participate.
For those watching this election, here is how I will be watching these races and breaking down candidates into the following categories:
- Incumbents: Have they done enough to deserve re-election considering all of the issues with COVID-19 that are coming. The learning curve is steep and it pains me to say this may be one of the only elections where keeping many of the old guard may be beneficial. That said, plenty of incumbents should absolutely be voted out.
- Pinocchio’s: incumbents and candidates who stretch truths on their record, take credit for things they did not accomplish and are masters in speaking in half-truths as they fool the public. Is it really that hard to tell the truth?
- Solution Oriented: Has both an opinion and solution on everything. These people have done their homework, regardless if the community agrees or does not agree with them–at least they have an opinion. Ultimately, these are the candidates people should focus on as to whether nor not they can do the job.
- Squirrels: People who try to be all things to all people based on the “hot topic” of the day and the room they may be in. Too many opinions and too many promises made where at some point it will become a problem. Yes, every vote counts, but at what expense?
- Window Trimmings: Are focused on appearance and working to make the community believe things are fine while underneath the problems increase.
- Social Media Trolls: candidates who complain online simply to rile others up but have no understanding of how things truly work. These folks spend more time in half truths causing more work for others to correct the information than dealing in realistic conversations.
- Sloths: Dumb people who have no business being in elected office because they have failed to educate themselves and get up to speed with local government.
Yes, the seven categories are tongue and cheek, but everyone should have their own moral compass when eliminating candidates from consideration.
This year, for example, I fully admit am done with Democrat vs. Republican rhetoric at all levels. Instead, I am looking for people of action, doers, people who can build community, all while being capable of having a dialogue with those who disagree with them. Finally, I am looking for smart people who are capable of moving through the issues and impacts COVID-19 will have on our local communities.
For those running this fall. I tip my hat to you and wish you all good luck on a defining election while volunteering for what public scrutiny is coming your way in what is called “silly season”.
A list of candidates who have already pulled papers can be view by clicking here.
Publisher of ECT