I always wonder why mediatypes (especially on television) urge people to get out and vote in elections. I feel wary about doing that. It's not that I don't think voting is important. This politics business is kind of a passion for me. I just think that if you're not informed, you probably shouldn't vote. And I also think not voting in an election can make as big of a statement as casting a ballot. You certainly shouldn't have to vote. It's the candidates job to get you to vote. I just get a bit queasy when the media instructs people to "do their duty." We should stick to telling people what an election is about, and stop telling them they need to vote.
Either way, there are some elections tomorrow. In Springfield, 3 candidates are vying to win 2 slots for an open city council seat. Manufacturer Dan Chiles, computer programmer Randel Hanes and Missouri State University swim coach Jack Steck are running for the citywide open council seat D.
I got to catch up with the three of them. Here are some mini-bios of the candidates. It's a a shorthand cheat-sheet, in case you're one of those proud patriots who will take 3 and half minutes of your time and fill out a ballot Tuesday.
Why he's running: The environment. "We don't have to worry about rising oceans, but we need to think about our obligations to the world." Energy. "We have the possibility of fuel shortages here in Springfield because we don't have oil wells here. Good government. "I want to take care of smaller things, like getting the potholes filled and keeping a good water supply."
Why he won't attack his opponents: "They're nice guys!"
How he thinks the city handled the ice storm: "I thought they did a remarkable job. I'm really proud of the work they did."
Sales tax renewal: YES
Who he's counting on Tuesday: "Hot coal voters. There's a few thousand people who would walk over hot coals to vote. They vote every single time no matter what."
Money Quote: "They may like me, they may not like me, but people here know me."
Why he's running: Friends have told him to throw his hat in again. "I want to sound off against repeated unanimous city council decisions."
A "No" vote he would've cast: Red light cameras. "The city spent over a million dollars on this. I just would've spent the money differently. We should've been upgrading our communications system, police vehicles before we even considered the idea of what I would've thought is more of a luxury."
What else council did wrong: Pit Bull ordinance. "Having the animal injected with a ID chip and forcing the owner to spayed or neuter the animals that are not show dogs are not good remedies."
Sales tax renewal: YES
Website: Not that I could find
Why he's running: "I've got some issues with some of the things happening in the city. I'm disturbed with what's going on in the police department. Anytime you have police picketing in front of city hall, something is wrong."
What he knows about his opponents: "A little bit. I recognize the Chiles name."
His beef with the council: "A $1.7 million dollar embezzlement. The largest public embezzlement in the state of Missouri! The city council, and city manager, the buck has to stop with them."
How he thinks the city handled the ice storm: "They did a good job, but they were not prepared. I just don't think there was a plan in place. We need to learn and prepare."
How long he was without power: 9 days
Who Will Win?
Chiles has probably got the best name I.D. in town, and he may be the most organized. The News-Leader endorsed him, but look what that did for Doug Harpool and Jim Talent (No offense to FOB (friend of blog) Mr. Messenger:) Hanes has run before, so that could help. But as a former college swimmer, you can't rule out a swim coach. Steck (not STACK) probably has some name I.D. Could we see a Chiles-Steck face-off?