by Marion Marks
Every voter who fails to study candidates or issues during election season is taking a “leap of faith.” Each voter has an equal singular vote to cast in an election or primary, and every voter has the opportunity to participate in the democratic election process. Every voter has the obligation to learn facts about the opportunity to award a vote to potentially improve our environment and determine the direction we move institutions. However, not very many voters take the opportunity to really participate by getting involved in the process. To me this is a sad state of affairs.
Most people I know complain about the state of our country. It’s national, state and local problems on a daily basis. Everyone participates in the art of amateur political analysis. Learn a few facts and step up to social media and throw in a comment. It‘s sarcastic comedy of who puts out the best zingers based on fragments of truth. Some are real laughers, unfortunately it’s a rather sad laugh.
In a recent FaceBook confrontation supporters of Shreveport Mayoral candidate Patrick Williams insisted I and others didn’t have a clue concerning the sign code and ordinances related to Williams signage at his Youree Drive campaign headquarters. I started by asking the question the large banners mounted on the roof of two sides of the 1302 Youree headquarters that measure approximately 160 square feet each. They‘re impressive signs! Yet based on litigation I observed in the last mayoral race as well as some in this race, the candidate solved the size issue by physically separating the signs just enough so that each piece complied with existing codes. We fondly refer to those signs, and any other oversized banners, as “Wooley” signs.
Online discussions don’t solve issues affecting either the candidate or the election, but they leave a stain on the reputation of a candidate, their supporters and even the process when the spirit of the election is dragged down to “Gotchas.”
In the spirit of going beyond the daily “gotchas,” I’ve suggested to some that a scorecard or grading system would help the average voter determine more about the candidates. This is an attempt to standardize some issues and clarify local candidates by what they say and do in the campaign season. This election cycle we are choosing a few local races to grade candidates in this manner.
We hope the grading process may be little more than a beauty contest. We don’t want it to become a popularity spectacle, so the only voting on what we say that we report will be at the polls. Sorry peanut gallery, you can discuss this all you want online!
And to many the criteria will be quite subjective, but that’s an author’s prerogative. We will roll out some of the criteria shortly, and I know the kibitzers will enjoy their pot shots. It’s their right and we expect hiccups from all.
For the time being the issues will be based on a few things we believe most important to the citizens who call this their home. Anything more than properly respecting the rights of citizens, maintaining an environment conducive to growth and following guidelines established to serve in elected office always becomes subjective.
Expect more details as we organize our thoughts, seek guidance of others we respect in this area, and do research on the candidates and the office they seek to fill. Poor judgement by candidates will be scrutinized, passed along to others for examination and probably criticized on this site. Much of the writing and investigations conducted concerning elected officials seems to be smoke and mirrors and very little fire. Most voters are like cows coming at the call of a trombone…