Suppose they gave an election and nobody ran?
Cynicism corrodes America’s political culture. It’s not only the received wisdom, but a conversation trigger. Did you see how close Olympia came to shutting down state government? When did D.C. gridlock and passive acceptance of sequestration become the new normal?
Media and the chattering class magnify the noise. Some of it is justified. In 1974, 3 percent of former members of Congress went on to become lobbyists. Today, it’s 50 percent. The revolving door, the hemorrhaging of money, the influence biz. It ain’t pretty, and it mushrooms over time.
In the face of all the despair, hope. Most local elected officials labor over arcane questions of zoning, public safety and vital services without fanfare, scandal or financial reward.
These are people who consider public service an end in itself, not a vehicle for advancement or enrichment. As Gandhi wrote, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others. So repeat Gandhi-isms like a mantra, ye elected souls, when battling to stay awake in planning meetings.
Two critical services are positions on school boards and city councils. There are few benefits, a fair amount of drudgery, and a troop of citizens who immediately express skepticism and disdain about those who serve. Thick skin and willingness to barrel through are required.
When the good folks fall away, opportunists elbow in. That’s why it is essential to attract the best.
And now you will have your chance (presupposing you’re smart, otherwise disregard.) The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office will open a special three-day candidate filing period for nine local offices where no one signed up during the regular period. The filing period begins Aug. 7 at 9:00 a.m. and remains open until Aug. 9 at 5:00 p.m.
The auditor’s office notes that prospective candidates must be registered voters within the district. No carpetbaggers.
Nine offices. No takers. A few passes are understandable: No one filed to run for mayor of Gold Bar, a town likely to disincorporate because of financial woes. All the more reason to step up with a community’s future teetering on the edge. Accept the challenge not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. The same goes for a vacant Gold Bar City Council seat.
Other openings are on the Index City Council and school board, three fire districts and the commission for the East County Park and Recreation District.
Find yourself by losing yourself in service.