One test of an institution’s vitality is how eager people are to become members, and how interested a community is to learn who’s become a member. Strong institutions or organizations attract attention.
When the institution is a city or county government, one looks to see who’s eager to run for office, and how many people are interested in who’s running for office. There’s something more, too: how eager the public body is to tell its community who’s running for office.
Look around many rural communities, and one finds that local government websites aren’t listing who’s on the ballot, although the filing deadline was days ago.
(This lack of notice isn’t true at the state level – the Wisconsin Elections Commission has a page with the names of candidates who’ll be on the ballot for state races. See Wisconsin Elections Commission, Spring 2019 Election. The state didn’t wait – or hope, actually – that a newspaper would print this information. The state published these candidates’ names as of the 1.2.19, five o’clock deadline for nomination papers to be filed.)
Cities and counties in many areas haven’t done the same for their 2019 local elections. They’ve not rushed with excitement to publish electoral announcements.
Perhaps there’s an explanation for this difference between the state and local places — there’s activity in many small communities, but it’s shifting from local politics to apolitical community action.
Local governments have promised much, but delivered too little; community groups have been noticed too little, but have produced much.
Whitewater’s governmental Community Development Authority is almost emblematic of a political failure to improve the prospects of individuals and families. For more about the Whitewater CDA, see an entire category on the topic. Concerning the trend toward apolitical opportunities for genuine community improvement see from 12.16.16 An Oasis Strategy and more recently The Broad Outlines of 2019 (‘community’).
If this change in direction should prove true, it would be a good (and necessary) step for many towns in our area.