I don’t know about you, but I am just now recovering from the last election season and the next election cycle has already begun.
The announcement by the County Clerk-Recorder of approaching deadlines to confirm open office seats and to file candidate nomination forms sent chills down my spine. How can it possibly be campaign season again?
I still have recurring nightmares from last November’s Turlock City Council race of robocalls, torn campaign signs and e-mail tirades of all kinds. I have heard many a Turlocker say that the 2008 City Council race was the nastiest campaigning the city has ever seen.
This year I am praying for a more civilized, but not boring — I am still a journalist — campaign season. Although there are no Turlock City Council seats open this November, thank God, three seats are open on the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees.
In the past, school board races have been fierce but somewhat limited in their impact on the community as a whole. Unfortunately, the majority of local residents I have spoken to have the attitude that if they don’t have kids currently in school, then why should they care who runs the District.
This year should be different. With the drastic cuts the schools have undergone, even the previously uninterested are concerned about the quality of education our city’s youth are receiving. I, for one, am glad that my daughter graduated from high school this past May. I don’t see how the schools will be able to maintain instructional excellence after the most recent budget cuts.
Having to face tough choices on budgetary expenditures has now become deciding between a rock and a hard place. Why any sane person would want to voluntarily serve on the board that has to make these decisions is beyond me. I have a hard enough time explaining to my daughter why I decided to spend our vacation money on car repairs. Telling hundreds of teachers that they can all take a pay cut or else dozens will lose their jobs is my definition of torture.
Hopefully, the voters will remember how hard it has become to serve the community as a school board member and not take out their state government frustration on local officials running for reelection. But, let’s face it, the voters will take incumbent trustees to task. They will ask hard questions and expect honest answers. That is the way our system works.
And although I am dreading the day the first local campaign sign appears in one of my neighbors’ lawns, I am thankful that I live in a country where everyone’s opinion can be heard and every vote counts.
No matter how nasty our election campaigns get, I am proud to live in a country where freedom still rings.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.