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Decision 2011


Every year, starting in mid August and ending in late September, my life revolves around elections.

Candidates swoop in and out of my life like a political version of speed dating. My calendar looks like California freeway traffic. And I eventually realize I’ve spent more time in coffee shops, my choice location for candidate interviews, than my office or home.

As I write, I’m clearly avoiding the intimidating stack of notes on my desk from interviews I’ve done with about 60 candidates—from the Longmont mayor to Boulder Valley School District Board of Education hopefuls to Westminster council incumbents. They eagerly waits to be pillaged, layer after  layer of scribble. Soon they will be sorted and examined. Candidate profiles will be written, and endorsements will be made.

And in the end, after all the time and energy, we’ll probably break some hearts. So often in politics, especially when endorsements are involved, the ire that some readers and candidates discharge into my voicemail and email is awe-inspiring and vicious.

Last year, for example, a small group of Longmont democrats took it upon themselves to bombard me with bullying emails after we endorsed—gasp!—a republican. One woman said she would call advertisers and inform them of our “hard turn to the right.” Then again, I also received pointed letters to the editor from conservatives astonished at how few republicans and Tea Party candidates we had endorsed.

Yet, there is a part of me that loves elections. Especially municipal elections, when Average Joe and Jane turn on their winning smiles, purchase buttons in bulk and dabble in city policy. For the most part, they are good-intentioned, mild-mannered folks who care about the happenings of their community. They have ideas, they just want to sustain the awesomeness, they are doing it for the children. As opposed to many candidates at the state or federal level, these people run on positive platforms of open space, urban chickens and mall redevelopment.

Louisville, for example, is the closest thing to Mayberry there is. Actually, I think Mayberry probably holds more contentious elections. Here, every single candidate said his or her priority was to “keep Louisville special.” Several couldn’t think of one recent council decision with which they disagreed. “It’s about sustaining the positive momentum we have here,” one candidate said.

That’s not to take anything away from the city council elections in Boulder, which always has its share of activist and one-issue candidates, or Longmont, which is practically a partisan race. These elections bring excitement and urgency to traditionally low-turnout years.

I consider myself lucky. I get a front-row seat to politics and policy. I have the opportunity to sit down with 60 or so candidates and talk shop, pepper them with questions and engage them in conversation about important issues. No Facebook page, blog or candidate forum can help you get to know a candidate like a one-on-one; thusly, door-to-door campaigning is often key for winning local elections.

Because of that access, I feel confident that whether you agree with our endorsements or not, YS’s election guide offers an opportunity to get to know the candidates who don’t happen to come to your door or those who don’t make the daily newspaper headlines. Don’t forget to send your endorsement letters to [email protected].


email no info send march17th/09

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