Marin Voice: Now is not the time to give up on politicsAdmittedly this is a crazy time in American politics. Never before have we seen so many presidential appointments come and go so rapidly.
You can almost hear President Donald Trump saying to each one, “Welcome to the White House; don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” as he ushers them in one door and out the other.
Times are rough all over, as people prepare for the 2018 elections, praying there will be a 2018 at all, with a wary eye on North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Not to mention the man behind the White House curtains.
The popularity of politicians is at an all-time low. Whether you don’t trust this government, the previous government or government in general, a lack of trust in elected officials is rampant.
So why would anyone want to run for local office?
LOCAL POLITICS STILL A GOOD BET
Good question. The answer is that the only way to counter the negativity in national politics is to start electing good, ethical people to local offices.
Some of them will go on to higher office and some won’t. Either way, they have the opportunity to make a difference in their towns and cities, their counties and special district areas, like water board, sewer board and of course school boards.
In Marin, most of the city councils have been holding their elections in odd-numbered years. While the state and national elections have all been in even-numbered years, leading to a lopsided voting pattern, with many voters ignoring local elections altogether.
Starting in 2018, local Marin County, (and all of local Califonria), offices will now be elected in even-numbered years, to encourage higher voter turnout. But this year offers a unique final chance to run in an off-year election in these communities: Fairfax, Novato, San Rafael, San Anselmo and Larkspur all have regular elections this year, while Tiburon and Sausalito have special elections to fill a vacancy.
Some of the terms will be for three years and others for five (except for Tiburon, which is only for one year), until all communities have moved their elections in even numbered years.
If you live in one of these towns, you might consider a run. Maybe you’ve served on a board or commission and have been thinking about running before.
Maybe you’ve been a community volunteer and want to do more. Maybe you just see a need that you are uniquely qualified to fill.
For those jurisdictions where all the incumbents are running to keep their seats, filing closes on Aug. 11.
But if any incumbent decides not to run, filing will remain open until Aug. 16 for any non-incumbent to run.
The time to make that decision is now. And if not this year, maybe next year, when other seats will be up.
RUN TO WIN!
Even if you haven’t decided what you are running for or when, or even if you want to run, but are curious to learn more about the process, you might want to attend an election training to learn more.
The Marin Women’s Political Action Committee (MWPAC), a nonpartisan group dedicated to helping pro-choice women and men run for office, is holding a campaign training session on Aug. 23, at the McInnis Park Club restaurant in San Rafael.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the program will feature campaign professionals, as well as elected officers and editorial page editors, to discuss such things as the nuts and bolts of campaigning, raising funds, managing your time as a candidate and as an elected official and how to get those important newspaper endorsements.
The cost is $30 and includes a buffet dinner and handouts that offer tips for would-be candidates.
MWPAC is a membership organization and welcomes all pro-choice women and men to join.
In September, there will be an endorsement meeting to choose who the organization will support in the coming election.
To vote in that endorsement process, held on Sept. 13, you must be a dues-paying member by Aug. 13, or 30 days before the endorsement night.
More information about the organization and upcoming events can be found at www.mwpac.orgwww.mwpac.org
Dotty LeMieux is a Marin political consultant who leads GreenDog Campaigns in San Rafael.
And should all this politicking make you hungry, eat a healthy (or at least tasty) snack while on the campaign trail: