Democracy wins one in Grass Valley |

Democracy wins one in Grass Valley

The Grass Valley City Council made the correct decision on Thursday when it voted 5-0 to allow November’s council election to go forward even though only three candidates stepped up to run for the three open seats.

It was right thing to do because the voters deserve to look candidates in the eye and hear their plans for Grass Valley’s future.

It was the right thing for the democratic process, because offering an opportunity for write-in candidates is an American tradition going back to colonial days.

And it was the right thing for the three candidates. All are longtime residents and have campaigned before, but there are many newcomers who may not know them, and many fresh issues that will be confronting them.

By running the voters’ gauntlet and winning on Nov. 2, the three would take their seats with a true community endorsement. That would not have been the case had the council chosen its other option, which was simply to appoint the candidates to office.

At Thursday’s meeting, many members of the public stood to express confidence in – and admiration for – the three, praising them for standing for office at a time when, as outgoing Councilman Steve Enos said, politics is becoming a blood sport.

We agree with that sentiment, and recognize the sacrifice all public servants make. No doubt it was tempting to contemplate not having to endure weeks of knocking on doors, and not shelling out money for electioneering expenses.

But we also agree with those citizens who rose to recommend seeing the process through. As Vice-Mayor Dee Mautino said, it’s not about the money. If it were, we could hold a bake sale. It’s about a 94-year-old woman she knows who “won’t know how the candidates feel unless they tell her – and she has a right to know.”

So let the campaign begin. The Union’s Editorial Board plans to do its part by inviting supervisor and council candidates to join us for a discussion of issues. As we did for the primary last March, we’ll publish transcriptions of the sessions both on our op-ed page and on our Web site,

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