Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sifting through post-election confetti

| May 21, 2021 1:00 AM

The turnout of 24 percent was a record for this type of election. That's good.

The flipside? In baseball parlance, three quarters of the team sat in the on-deck circle but refused to bat.

Beyond that, there’s probably nothing all of us can agree upon after the election autopsy has been completed. Here are a few thoughts culled from the pile of confetti saturated with tears.

• Post Falls School District is justified in celebrating voter approval of continuing a key funding mechanism. But the margin of the win, 329 votes out of 6,543 ballots cast, shows how divided our community is in supporting public education. That sucks some of the bubbles out of the champagne.

• A common refrain when elections don’t end the way someone wants them to typically goes like this: “The voters just didn’t understand the issues or the individuals. We have to do a better job of educating them.” That’s often been true in off-year local elections like this one.

But the sense here is that voters knew exactly what they were doing Tuesday. That both incumbents on the community library board, at least one of them a diehard and distinguished Republican, got trounced, isn’t likely to have happened because voters simply like the other candidates’ names better. Voters knew and liked how the winners think and what they believe.

Was it the idea that taxes might be reduced or control over children’s reading material will be increased? Time will tell.

• In a broader sense, it was a terrible election for incumbents. Both lost their library seats. One of the two current hospital trustees — the chairman of the board, in fact — got beat, and one of the candidates signaling a desire to change the hospital district’s direction got elected. Three incumbents serving East Side and Post Falls highway districts all were defeated easily.

What some of us consider the green pastures of effective leadership, others see as swamp. Including the election last fall for North Idaho College trustees, the drainage has commenced, warranted or not.

• New voices on the boards could change their tunes somewhat as they learn more about why the organizations do what they do. Fresh perspectives that question unchallenged thinking are essential to strong public service. But following the advice of sages — seek first to understand before being understood — will lead to the best public service possible.

• We get the government we deserve.

No exceptions.

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