Small Town News


Only 12 months to go

Cloverdale Reveille of Cloverdale, California

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Fasten your seatbelts. This week marks the official start of Election Year 2016, culminating next Nov. 8 with the election of a new U.S. President and Congress. Dozens of local elections also will be decided, along with the usual flash mob of statewide propositions.

Up until now, all the noise and fireworks have been a very entertaining warm-up featuring reality TV star Donald Trump, the Red October chase for Hillary's emails and a very quiet Western Front out here in mellow California.

By this time next year, we the voters will have endured cable TV screaming, blizzards of direct mail, contradictory and confusing statewide ballot propositions and rude intrusions on our smartphone screens.

Will it be worth it? Who can be blamed for tuning out, hiding in a silo or only channeling Huffington Post, FOX or the hate-radio echo chambers?

Take heart, there will also be plenty of sunshine, issue-oriented news coverage and properly officiated debates. There will be plenty of local action, too, where voters' choices, single votes and small crowds will be heard and will make a difference.

The California Primary is June 7. That ballot will include early choices for a new governor and other important statewide offices. The only big local races in June will be for three seats on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. The outcome of those races will set a new majority rule over future road repairs, pension reform, the next $1 billion county budget and more.

Campaigns for seats on the Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale town and city councils will get under way by midsummer. Those elections will take place Nov. 8, 2016 along with many local votes for school board trustees, fire district directors and other local boards.

Thank goodness, these elections are still old-fashioned, door-to-door and small town debate affairs. Voters can actually meet and talk to the person they vote for. Too bad our county supervisor elections have turned to the dark side, where next year's candidates will need to raise almost $1 million to be taken seriously.

Cloverdale will have two seats up for election, now filled by Robert Cox and Mary Ann Brigham.

We are grateful that the electeds in Cloverdale are busy governing and have not declared their intentions on whether they will run for re-election a year from now.

At the county level, the race for Efren Carrillo's west county seat will fetch lots of outside money, white-hot political fire and frazzled constituents. Contests for Shirlee Zane's Santa Rosa seat and Susan Gorin's Sonoma Valley district seat also promise to be money magnets.

It hasn't gotten any easier over recent years for us to convince our readers to be sure to vote. We understand how futile it can seem to believe that "one man, one vote" still matters. But it does. Just remember, in 2000 there would have been a President Gore instead of a President Bush if a few thousand votes in some Florida neighborhoods had been different. Many local city council and school board elections are decided by a dozen or fewer votes. You can look it up.

By the time we get to California's June Primary, the polls will be telling us our presidential choices are over — before a single Californian casts a vote.

While the polls could be wrong, don't worry, save your energy and civic mindfulness for all the little votes that, in the end, might matter the most.

Our prediction is that this will be a very long year, probably with a welcomed summer break. Try to imagine the headlines and the speeches that will take place 12 months from this week.

Don't you wish we could all vote tomorrow and get on with the rest of our lives?

— Rollie Atkinson

Copyright 2015 Cloverdale Reveille, Cloverdale, California. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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