As a beat writer for a small, community-based newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was given a task that required me to take a crash course in local politics. Of course, we all know who the all-too-familiar celeb-politicos are, but this given assignment required me (and two other writers) to contact every local candidate running for office from different districts, cities, and school boards.
Needless to say, it was a difficult task. We had to deal with difficult people, playing a little game of hide-and-seek as we tried to contact every single one of them for an opportunity to publish a statement for free at our newspaper. After grueling weeks of follow-up emails and calls, finally, the task is done.
This grandeur gesture is part of what I love about our small, community newspaper. The intent of doing so is to give service to the community. Being the political aficionado that he is, my editor in chief attends to as many candidate forums and city council meetings as he can, at his ripe age of XX.
And after reading and editing (phew!) the candidate statements that we received, I can’t help but raise an eyebrow on some of them. Every single one holds promises (often too good to be true) to their constituents. Some of them have years of experience to add to their repertoire, but the number of years don’t often correlate to the number of achievements. Some of them are new to the playing field, and although you want to root for the underdog, sadly, the materials and statements that they present are too weak to garner much-needed support. In spite of these agendas, every City has its own mess that needs to be cleaned.
As the November general election draws near, I hope that these candidates practice the age-old art of door-to-door campaigning. After all, what’s the use of advertisements if your constituents have no idea who you are, whose name is on the ballot?