PARTISANSHIP: A fact of life
I think we are quite naive if we believe that any elected position is not subject to partisanship.
Nonpartisan boards consist of people with deep-seated opinions and beliefs which probably follow political ideologies. This shows up fiscally and philosophically.
A board’s purpose is to bring a group of opinions together and come to a consensus about issues affecting the entity they represent. Whether one is a conservative or a progressive, it colors their decisions. That should be no surprise. The surprise is that we would believe otherwise.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is worth recognizing. I surely don’t advocate for candidates being vetted on questions regarding subjects with no relevance to a particular board. But questioning candidates regarding issues that affect the group for which they are running is common sense.
In the case of a library board, for example, the political leanings of the members can certainly affect a library. They might require that books reflecting their own ideals should be prominently displayed or featured within the library. Or perhaps they would decide that certain books will not be promoted, even if the books are available. Displays can certainly influence a patron’s reading choices.
Partisanship may not be as obvious in “nonpartisan” elections, but make no mistake, everyone brings their personal beliefs to any table where decisions are made. That’s what makes people who they are.