"All politics is local," they say (or, rather, Tip O'Neill said). This is usually seen as advice to politicians to take care of their home district if they want to be re-elected.
But it's equally important for citizens to remember. Important decisions that have demonstrable impacts on our lives are made by those friends and neighbors of ours who decide to sit on local councils and boards.
That's why I liked the advice the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner gives today:
Election Day is a long way away but it's not too early too think about using it as an opportunity to change the direction of your community by suffering the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" (to toss another gratuitous quotation in there) and serving.
The pending departures of Mayor Thompson and Councilman Cleworth, whatever you think of their beliefs about city government, are a loss for the city. Both men are exceptionally knowledgeable about the workings of the city government. They know its abilities and its shortcomings. They know its potential.
So now, four months ahead of the filing deadline, is when people should be thinking about who their next batch of leaders will be.
Just five people ran for the two City Council seats on last year’s ballot. It was the same in 2005. Mayor Thompson and Councilman Seeliger ran unopposed in 2004. Just three people, including an incumbent, ran for the two council seats on the 2003 ballot.
Where are the rest of the great minds that we know live in Fairbanks?
No doubt those people are reluctant to step into a difficult situation not of their making and face the constant sour tone of talk radio and the disparaging comments that often pockmark the City Council meetings.
But needed those great minds are.