Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on the Special Election

Thoughts on the Special Election

So there's going to be an election. Date's set for January 19.

First off, congrats to the petitioners. Believe it or not--and look back over the blog--I'm actually agnostic on the appoint vs. elect issue. Fifteen years ago, I was on the petitioning side for an election a lot like this. There's a process, the petitioners made a good effort, so it goes.

That said, two things.

First, I'll be supporting Janelle Rettig for the Democratic nomination and in the election.

Second, a note on how the petitioners got their names. "Well, they were all over the Pentacrest yesterday at lunchtime, and most people had no idea what they were signing, from what I could hear," writes Aletia Morgan at my Facebook page.

I have nothing against the petitioners soliciting student signatures. I argued loudly in the city election that the students were full-fledged, and under-represented, members of our community. Property qualifications for voting were eliminated even before race and gender qualifications were.

But there's a big group of people in this town who openly argue that students shouldn't be allowed to vote. Last year the conservation bond opponents, Lori Cardella chief among them, argued that students should not be allowed to vote on local matters because they're not "taxpayers". “The student body population may override the wishes of long-term rural residents of Johnson County,” she said a year ago in the losing Flip No effort.

Now, Cardella puts herself forward as the likely candidate for the special election, and that attitude is relevant in how she hopes to represent the community.

I'm glad that the petitioners tacitly recognized that students have a right to participate in Johnson County's political process, even if it was only to serve their own interests. But in doing so, don't they by extension acknowledge the legitimacy of the conservation bond?

I'm just sayin'. Now let's go vote.

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