Editor: "Why should I waste my time voting? They're only going to do what they want to do, anyway. My one vote will have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election or how we govern ourselves."
How many times have we heard that remark or one similar to it? Maybe it's so, but I prefer to think that my vote will have a meaningful bearing on how my city governs itself.
As Election Day draws near, many candidates have taken that huge step forward and said, "I can help my city move in a direction that will benefit all the residents."
I believe any person who seeks public office deserves our respect and admiration. To devote the time and energy necessary to prepare and then run is something most of us do not wish to do.
Issues important to the residents will be expressed in terms ranging from imaginative to impossible. Each area of any city has unique problems that, in turn, will be focused on by the "runners." This is typically the way a campaign operates. Stay with the popular issue. Shy away from the controversial.
Campaigns also give voters a chance to question candidates, to judge their answers and to assess their vision for office. But there is also a danger of relying too much on campaigns, to the exclusion of past performances.
The people's wants are simple. They want leaders who can offer a sense of "community," where neighbor looks out for neighbor. How do we the people assist our leaders once elected? What direction, if any, do we offer? The people can fault their leaders only to a small degree when they fail in their duty by not making their voices heard.
Our newly elected officials will need our input. By our non-action in civic affairs, we deny "the new kid on the block" the people's voice.
Voters, make your vote count. Listen to your candidates, study their platforms, ask questions.
Your vote can create change!
A government that is run by intimidation
Editor: My congratulations to Clearwater Mayor Rita Garvey and Commissioner Dick Fitzgerald and all at the St. Petersburg Times who wished for a city hall at the SunBank.
We could have a beautiful building, a large number of people downtown and a price that would not shock the taxpayer.
What we do have is a sorehead "Mr. Memo" and two dittos to thank for what looks like a government run by intimidation.