One of the newest functions downloaded to my Mac dashboard is an egg timer widget. It’s become a necessity since the 2007 election season kicked off just after Labor Day.
It’s basically nothing more than a hip-looking timer. It counts backwards, from any time frame you want. It’s not what you’d call the world’s most ingenious invention, although it likely took some techno geek many hours of labor developing the software code to make it tick.
It’s kind of humorous to think about when you consider the watch you are wearing right now serves the same function without being backed up by a thousand-dollar machine (though your timepiece could have a few karats in it and cost three times that).
I digress. So back to the purpose of my new widget. Just as my Labor Day weekend hangover was receding, I started with endorsement interviews for the candidates for municipal seats on Nov. 6. This egg-shell colored graphic has become a handy tool in keeping these question and answer sessions with official wannabes to a minimum, which is tough to do since politicians like to talk as much as an over-caffeinated sorority girl.
All told, there are 81 folks running for a council, board or mayoral seats in the area we like to call North Metro, and by the time this magazine comes out, I should have talked to them all. There are also a handful of ballot items to wade through—for example, should you pay the part-time Dacono elected officials a bit more coin for their services or protect open space in Longmont? Riveting, I know.
But these elections, so often considered an odd-year yawn in between the much sexier national campaigns, are vitally important to the everyday lives of residents from Thornton over to Westminster up to Broomfield and even further north to Longmont. Your city council rep is the person who’s going to listen when a pothole needs fixing, crime goes up in your neighborhood or Wal-Mart decides you are the next targeted market for one of its gigantic stores.
This is why I am spending so much time this month interviewing candidates ad nauseam, talking about development, revitalization, public transportation and whether one leans toward argyle socks. When the November issue of The Yellow Scene prints, you’ll see what 81, 20-minute-candidate interviews looks like in gloss. (And if you’re one of those who votes early or by mail, you can see what it looks like on the web—all of our coveted endorsements will appear online Oct. 15.)
As much as we like to pat ourselves on the back, this comprehensive guide shouldn’t be your only source for candidate information. In the coming weeks, read everything you can get your hands on, email a candidate a question, attend forums debating the issues. All too often, local elections turn into a good-ol’ boys network, meaning that the already prominent candidate with all the important friends wins with ease. Or the incumbent takes the race just because of name recognition (think Eddie Murphy’s “The Distinguished Gentleman”). Many of the smaller elections I’ve covered can be likened to a glorified high school presidential vote.
But the stakes are much higher.
Just remember that when a huge snowstorm hits and you’re stuck 4-wheeling out of your cul-de-sac for three months.
Oh, the egg timer just went off. Guess that means it’s time for another task. Maybe I should use this thing to keep me on track more often.