Potholes and school repairs aren't nearly as sexy as presidential elections. I mean, really, there are no catchy campaign tunes (except for that Mike Gutierrez song that stuck in my head for two years). Too many of us ignore the elections that affect our day-to-day lives the most.
People fought, went to prison, starved themselves and died so you can ignore your right to vote. That seems a bit ungrateful, to put it mildly. Democracy freeloaders. I'm betting more folks in Anchorage filled out a Sweet 16 bracket than will vote in the April 1 election. (One, sorry if you picked Duke; secondly, yes, our election is on April Fools' Day; this is not a joke.)
I'd stop with that and call this the shortest column ever, but I know what some of you are saying over your good morning paper: "Sounds great. More coffee." Admit it, at least one of you just said that. More of you probably thought, "I'd vote if there were someone worth voting for."
From your lips to God's ears.
I wonder what would happen if an oath to truth was sworn by candidates -- like they had to tell the truth.
Case in point, the East Anchorage Assembly race. Incumbent Adam Trombley is being challenged by former state Rep. Pete Petersen.
This race has a lot of money being bet on both sides. Trombley, a consistent rubber stamp for the mayor until five minutes ago, has worked remarkably hard for a few builders in the city. Revised rules allow "independent engineers" -- instead of municipal employees -- to approve new construction. What could go wrong? It'll take weeks off the process. Nothing like a cut corner to make a few more bucks. And the only risk is to the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.
It was funny when Chuck Spinelli, head of a building company, told the paper, "We didn't go to Adam Trombley and ask him to do anything for home builders, but he started doing things that home builders really appreciated."
Really? You never asked him? He just figured out what you'd been wanting for years and made it his mission on the Assembly? In an invitation to Chuck Spinelli's fundraiser for Trombley, there was no mention of the assemblyman's psychic ability to help builders. Nope, instead it said Adam had "done more for the local home builders in the last two years than any elected official in the last two decades, maybe EVER."
It went on to explain how Trombley revolutionized the process: "For the first time in 40 years builders can bypass city plan review!" Now you have a choice of "your own engineer for plan review." It may as well have said, "Your own brother-in-law can check your work! Wahoo! Free at last!"
So even if Trombley doesn't know who he's working hardest for, the check-wielding home builders do.
So I complain about the lack of "truthiness" in campaigns, and then one day there it is ...
A candidate starts telling the truth. He tosses the "socially acceptable" filter between his thoughts and his mouth and says what he thinks out loud. Oh, I'm not talking about "gotcha" phone-video recordings, I'm talking about public television, where the candidate knows the cameras are on and capturing every word.
Don Smith, I appreciate your honesty this week in regard to your bid for school board. It's good that you explained and re-explained your racist views in a clear and concise manner. Not voting for you is my choice because I don't believe the good old days were when Anchorage schools were "98 percent white" and teachers didn't have to deal with "immigrants" or "special needs students."
I couldn't make this guy up. "Today we're 48 percent white and 52 percent other and that clearly is causing problems," he said. The presence of nonwhites is causing our school funding problems? This us-vs.-them racist crap should be, if not extinct, at least closeted by now.
So here we are, batters up to the ballots. Sometimes you have to vote against crazy. A few times I've been able to vote for someone I believed would represent us fairly. (A rare and beautiful thing.) But I never miss a chance to vote. Do it while you still can.
Shannyn Moore is a radio host on 1480 AM in Washington, D.C., and on Netroots Radio.