I attended both debates held last week in Brentwood and listened to our mayor, two city councilman, and their respective challengers state their views on the future of the city and its financial well being, the planned city hall project, and the state of fire and police protection.
In the election of 2006, the two seats for council had 10 candidates vying for them (I was among that group) and there were three candidates running for mayor with special-interest money flowing throughout the election season.
In the upcoming election, we again have two seats on the city council up for grabs, but only one person is challenging the two incumbents and the mayor faces token opposition in his re-election bid.
We see little evidence of special-interest influence money this year, as our mailbox volume appears normal and the landscape is not slammed with multiple colorful signs with catchy slogans.
The debates themselves were friendly and sedate with little disagreement between the candidates and challengers over the issues, but one thing both venues had in common was the pitiful turnout by the residents.
These are troubling economic times for all of us, and our jewel by the delta is no exception.
The residents (myself included) are quick to call our council and mayor to task in print over issues like budgetary spending and an escalating crime rate, but when it's time to walk the walk, they are no-shows.
I understand that our current administration as well as the city management team can do little to affect the collapse the real estate market and its effect on our financial institutions.
In my opinion, the current administration and city management team should take heed of this and be very cautious with any expenditures, especially those that might involve borrowing money.
The mayor and City Council should strive to find creative ways to fund and assist the police department in their ongoing battle against criminals drifting through our city, stopping to commit crimes and drifting out.
The residents who appear to be so concerned need to attend these debates and speak out to our elected officials and then hold them accountable for their actions at the ballot box.
I know from firsthand experience that the biggest problem our wonderful city faces every election year is resident and voter apathy, and judging by the sparse turnout at the two debates last week, it seems that might be the case in this election, too.