Candidates lost | Editorial
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
June 15, 2011 · 9:58 AM
Two, count ’em, just two people came forward to run for office in this potentially lively Island election year. Both have chosen to run for the same position, the one held by City Council incumbent El Jahncke.
Regretfully, no one else came forward to run for any of the remaining six positions open for re-election: three on the School Board or the other three City Council incumbents now unopposed. As messy as they can be, elections are what a democracy is all about. Elections mean that opposing sides must directly engage with each other and the community. It is expensive, time consuming and often frustrating and painful for those who run as they are often pulled away from talking about what really matters to issues of little importance — issues brought up to embarrass or distract. Running for office is not for the faint of heart. Yet most incumbents welcome the opportunity to talk with constituents and reintroduce themselves to the community. For those who take on running for office against an incumbent, it is the same. Painful in some ways, rewarding in others. Many recognize it may take a time or two to reach their goal of being an elected official — to influence a city or a school district in a meaningful way. It can be a long and expensive slog.
Of course, City Council and the School Board members here do not get paid (to speak of), so the incentive must be a dedication to community. Plenty of people have that here and have found other ways to give. Many are unwilling or unable to set aside enough time to tackle the issues that stand before us both at the city and inside schools. Much good gets done on personal initiative here. See T. Pottmeyer, et al.
We hope that the lack of candidates does not reflect indifference. And there are other ways to contribute. But part of our job as citizens, part of our democratic process is to challenge the status quo periodically, to perform a gut check to see how we are doing. This process is lost without challengers, ideas and discussion in an election year. And more would have made it merrier.Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at email@example.com or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.