Brian Hamilton: Let’s focus on issues, rather than silly season
ELECTION FORUM SERIES
Hosted every Thursday night in April by the League of Women Voters of Nevada County in the Board of Supervisors chambers at Rood Center, 950 Maidu Ave., in Nevada City. A presentation on the Voters Choice Act, starting at 6:45 p.m., will precede each of the individual election forums, which start at 7 p.m.
Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters candidates, 7-8 p.m.
District Attorney candidates, 8:15-9:15 p.m.
U.S. Representative for District 1, 7-9 p.m.
Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 3, 7-8:30 p.m.
Nevada County Sheriff, 7-8:30 p.m.
Source: League of Women Voters of Nevada County
Election Day is still two and half months away, but it’s clear the “silly season” is well underway.
Campaign signs have sprouted, but soon after being stuck in the ground reports of their theft surface.
Endorsements have been announced, but haven’t been given the kind of attention campaigns say they deserve.
And, of course, accusations of unfair treatment are already flowing in over email and voicemail messages, as bias is determined by counting column inches or perusal of page placement for each news release submitted, or maybe how long an item was posted to the home page at TheUnion.com.
Did I mention we’re still weeks away from an actual ballot being cast?
Whew. How about we all take a deep breath?
After all, last Friday’s filing deadline applied only to offices in which the incumbent is running. Candidates in races with no incumbent have until 5 p.m. today to declare for office. So, in fact, there’s still a chance that we don’t know all the options in candidates we’ll have for the June primary.
All the same, the silly season is obviously upon us.
Of course, there’s nothing silly about the theft of campaign signs. It’s theft of property, and one can argue also an infringement of First Amendment rights. But it’s also reported early and often in every election cycle here in Nevada County and, as far as I can recall, no one ever gets arrested, let alone prosecuted, for the crime.
Maybe if someone is actually caught in the act and held to account for it, we’d see a sharp decline in such behavior.
On the endorsement front, campaigns are understandably proud to share the names of those supporting their candidates. It’s a common practice that campaigns like to stockpile long lists of supporters to, apparently, sway undecided voters their way, even though they’re often based in relationships rather than qualifications. But not all endorsements are equal, as getting a thumbs up from former elected officials or community leaders is likely to hold more weight than an endorsement from yours truly (which, just for the record, won’t happen in my role with The Union).
And it’s not likely The Union itself will endorse candidates. I say it’s not likely the newspaper would offer an endorsement — it hasn’t happened in at least the past decade — but we should reserve that decision if for some reason it was deemed necessary.
We seek to inform voters, rather than to influence them.
Our newsroom staff will sit down with candidates to discuss the issues they would face if they were to win election, as well as studying their qualifications for the seat they seek, in addition to the support they have behind them (in both endorsements and campaign funding). We look forward to having those conversations with the candidates and sharing what was learned with the community they seek to serve.
We also look forward to hearing from the candidates directly, and community members with questions for them, on these opinion pages and in election forums (see attached info box) throughout the election cycle.
We ask that “Other Voices” submissions focus on actual community issues relevant to each specific race rather than spending the 750-word limit on why Candidate “A” is worthy of your vote. Such endorsements can be offered within a 200-word letter to the editor. (And don’t wait till the last minute to share your thoughts. The Union won’t publish election-related opinions after Saturday, June 2).
Finally, no matter which candidate or cause you support, do yourself (and our community) a favor and get informed, weigh the options and then vote.
Because in the end, we do get the government we deserve.
Contact Editor Brian Hamilton at email@example.com or 530-477-4249.
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