I appreciate the e-mails asking me about my lack of blogging, and rather than make excuses for my long-term lack of blogging motivation, let me just try to get back into the swing of things. To facilitate the process, in the short run, I may stick to some short form entries aimed at putting some topics out there in order to at least try to prompt some thought and/or discussion.
I had said initially that the intention of this blog was not solely to be a forum for me to post my thoughts, but rather a place where I could try to give a perspective from the point of view of an elected official.
One of the reasons that my posting has been so scarce of late is that the majority of 'political' news has really focused on scandals, allegations and investigations. And since I don't want to tread in the waters of speculation and/or piling on, I have decided to stay away from this fray.
So rather than get into the individual merits or ramifications of any particular investigation, let's try to look at the issue globally. It is literally impossible to take in the local news on any given day without being buffetted by stories about the actions of the U.S. Attorney's office.
In fact, Federal agents are spending so much time going in and out of government offices these days, they shouldn't need warrants, they should get timecards.
And while all of this activity should help foster needed housecleaning (one way or another), it 's a sad statement about the state of local politics. One thing that it has done however is given the media ample material with which to work, and woken them from their tacit acceptance of business as usual. Gone are the days when a story that would chase an administration out of office in other cities or states merits only p.27 coverage in the local press. These days, the media seems emboldened to break the next big story and stay on the story until fruition (or conviction, whichever comes first). Whether this is a make-up attitude from the late start on the License for Bribes story is tough to determine, but I think that this new media vigilance is here to stay.
What is difficult to determine is what the impact of all of these actions will be on the electorate. It can essentially break one of two ways. Voters can toss up their collective hands out of apathy or cynicsm, or they can decide that they have had enough and use the power of their vote to effect change. Now I realize that, in some races, voters may feel that there is no real difference, and as such, not vote in certain races. But that mentality should not be used as an excuse to forego voting altogether in November or in the municipal elections next February.
Personally, I think that even mildly informed voters will see these two cycles as a unique opportunity to shake up the status quo and try to make their voice heard. That being said, it is still disheartening that the amount of campaign discussion cycle after cycle that is dedicated to corruption related topics drowns out so many other issues (education funding, healthcare, economic development, etc.) that the candidates should really be focused on.
So what say you, do all of these goings on help or hurt upcoming turnout?