Candidates need to focus on real issues
May 31, 2012 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
It has begun. Campaign season.
Veteran politicians and newcomers alike have filed petitions with the Wayne County Clerk hoping to win terms as elected officials at the local, county and state level.
This isn’t going to be pretty.
Already, challenges have been filed to petition signatures, claiming that candidates submitted signatures of residents who are not registered voters or didn’t complete the petitions correctly or had them signed on the wrong side of the street, or anything else political opponents can conjure up to dissuade them from the ballot. We find it disheartening, indeed, to see the kinds of political antics that are already in play in our local communities where we, honestly, had hoped for more adult conduct.
And the rumor mill has already begun working overtime before the campaign has really begun. One candidate is rumored to have already sent an inspector to his likely opponent’s residence to issue him citations for ordinance infractions. We have no idea if that is true, but that the rumor persists, speaks volumes. There are lots of other rumors, too. One candidate allegedly rear-ended a school bus recently and had the incident covered up as a benefit of his incumbency.
True? We have no idea. What we do know with certainty, however, is that this campaign season isn’t going to be about issues as much as it is about perceptions. That gives us great pause.
In Washington, D.C., the politicos all quote the slogan, “All politics is local.” We are beginning to fear that the kind of political strategy, shenanigans, spin and conduct that controls elections in our capitol has trickled downward into our towns like a slow moving but toxic substance that corrodes ethics and impacts moral conduct.
Our residents and voters are smart people—-smart and busy people. They don’t have time to watch every meeting on cable TV or much less, attend. They don’t have time to read a synopsis of the conduct, good or bad, of those they elected to preserve their best interests. They vote for and elect local leaders in the belief that these people will do what they should do, represent the wishes of the people and watch out for the welfare of the majority of residents at every turn.
That can only be accomplished if candidates are more interested in the issues facing the elected office they are pursuing than in the power, salary or prestige that is perceived to accompany a municipal title.
We urge all the candidates to address the issues, the sluggish economy, the budget deficits, the cuts in service, the rising costs of health care and staffing, the management of property and assets, the attraction of new business rather than base their campaigns on rumors, innuendo, intimidation or threats.
We are going to urge voters at every level to look carefully and seriously at the way every candidate conducts their campaign. Those who stoop to negative attacks, who attempt to smear their opponents, who lie or dissemble or who are disingenuous about their records or their goals are not worthy of the office. The way they conduct their campaigns is a clear indicator of the way they will conduct the business of the community.
We are also more than suspicious of those who promise to take actions and make changes far removed from the authority of the office they seek.
These candidates should each be held to a higher standard of conduct guided by a stricter moral compass.