It’s true: Local elections matter

Sept. 15, 2016 | G. Michael Dobbs

It may seem self-evident to write the following but I think it’s important to note: local elections matter.

I say this after discussions with two friends of mine who are both highly intelligent and politically aware. One asked about the sheriff’s race and thought that Springfield City Councilor Tom Ashe was Sheriff Mike Ashe’s son – which he is not.

My other friends also asked some question post-election that showed he paid little attention to the race.

Now both of these friends are go-to guys for deep and stimulating conversations about any number of national or international topics. I love talking to them, but for some reason the local elections leave them cold.

And yet it is the local elections that have the most immediate effect on a person’s life. Think a moment about all of the services that a municipality provides: trash pick-up, street maintenance, snow removal, water and sewers and schools. When there are problems with these elements of our lives, we feel them.

We also are affected by decisions made by the state pretty quickly, so elections for state senators, representatives, governors as well as positions on ballot questions are paramount.

Don’t get me wrong. Debating the presidential stuff can be a lot of fun – as well as fairly depressing this election cycle. The local elections are just more ground level.

Are you aware of the ballot questions? Well, you should be.

Question 1 would allow the Gaming Commission to issue an additional slots license.

Question 2 would authorize the approval of up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education per year.

Question 3 would prohibit certain methods of farm animal containment.

Question 4 would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be covering each question, as frankly each addresses issues that could directly affect people here in Massachusetts.

If you don’t want another slots parlor, or more charter schools, or increased humanity toward farm animals or legalized pot, then you should be voting in the Nov. 8 election for more than just a choice for president.

So whether you’re voting for Clinton, Trump, Johnson or Stein, go to the polls informed with the issues that will affect you the most and the quickest.

Editing the collection

I don’t know if it’s part of my advancing age – I finally get senior citizen discounts – but I’m starting to purge a bit.

No, that’s not a health term. I’m a collector of books, movies, historic items, movie memorabilia, postcards and apparently just too much stuff. It’s time for me to jettison items that realistically I know I will never read, listen to or watch again.

My wife and I went through three bookcases recently and edited about 60 books out of our collection. They were donated. This weekend I shed myself of about the same number of VHS tapes. They will be donated.

I haven’t reached my LPs yet, but they will soon be on the chopping block.

Going through these materials has been nostalgic in a way. I often remember when I bought a certain VHS or how much I enjoyed a particular book.

Passing these items along that they might reach someone who will discover them and appreciate them is also comforting to a collector such as me. 

And as I pointed out to my long-suffering wife, I now have room for new stuff!

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