Well, I think that this makes it official.  “Family Circus” is certainly one of the most innocuous cartoon strips featured in the funny papers and today–Halloween–the oldest of the children–Jeffy, I think his name is–says to his mother, “Daddy said that if I want to be something REALLY scary, I should dress up as a politician.”  Ain’t it the truth!

The local signs have sprouted pretty heavily  lately (I hesitate to say that they’re like a fungus, which has been quite prolific this fall; the fungi have probably been more colorful…but just barely), mostly at intersections where drivers have to stop and might  get a half-second burst of political persuasion whether they want it or not. And, truthfully, the local races and issues are ones that more people ought to pay more attention to.  Your chances of meeting up with a presidential hopeful are pretty slim, even given the fact that Ohio is considered a “swing state”, but you certainly could come face-to-face with the person who makes zoning decisions or decides whether or not your road needs work (Whose doesn’t?) or picks the next school superintendent… in the grocery store aisle right next to the toilet paper.  Candidate nights are where you can actually see who it is that wants to work for you–township, village, city, school board–for the next four years.

Their advertising is pretty straightforward too : Vote for So-and-So, Retain Whats-her-face, Re-elect Bobs-Your-Uncle.  Not too many aspersions being cast about anybody’s financial peccadillos  or offensive proclivities (marital, managerial or otherwise) in local race  advertising; maybe it’s because they all figure that everybody has already got that dirt at the last bowling night or trip to the laundromat.  Even party doesn’t intrude all that often at this level.  Mostly, it operates the same way as my mother who, though a staunch Republican (and poll worker for many years) always (I’m assuming “always” though nobody has to know how you vote once you go into that voting booth and she didn’t feel the necessity of divulging that information to all and sundry) voted for Rep. Don. Pease, a Democrat, because she went to high school with him and figured that if she ever needed anything from the government (highly unlikely, but still….) it wouldn’t hurt to know somebody who could hum the same alma mater.  You betcha!

Issues?…now there’s another kettle of fish altogether.  Local ones sometimes get “slimed” by no-good-niks leaving unsigned screeds in mailboxes (Illegal, by the way) or wildly unfactual or wrong-headed statements made to meetings or media.  Schools and zoning are often targets of individuals claiming that to save money first graders can, by Jiminy, walk two miles to school ( uphill both ways!) and use McGuffey’s Readers like their grandparents and the next thing you know there will be jack-booted storm troopers snooping about preventing honest citizen from butchering goats in their front yards or running a hazardous materials landfill on the back forty to put food on the table.  Appalling!

Statewide, it’s all about “spin”…and money, of course.  Occasionally, it reminds one of the old joke(?) about the man who killed his parents then pled for mercy before the court because he was an orphan.

Issue 1 is about allowing judges to serve on the bench past the current retirement age mandated at 75.  Some of them shouldn’t be there at all, let alone at 75.  We should all be paying more attention to what goes on in the courts and stop just automatically re-electing.  New blood is not necessarily good or bad.  Think.

Issue 2 –who hasn’t heard about that one?–is, basically, about collective bargaining for public employees…or not.  Read carefully.  Seems to me it’s rather insulting to local officials who are, apparently, adjudged to be incompetent to negotiate with local employees (Ask any one of them how much they enjoy having to take a beating for depriving the public of services or grinding   loyal workers under the heel of financial necessity.  Oh yeah, that’s fun!).

Issue 3 has been sailing along under the radar but has the potential to be a real bombshell.  My reading of it is that (Ironically, since this is the150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War) all the states get to do whatever they want whenever federal law isn’t something that they like.(Hey  you, Lincoln, get your cotton-pickin’ hands off my slaves!), especially, in this case, when it has to do with health care.  I think it would put the rest of us on the hook for all of those folks–and there will be some–who don’t wish to pay for insurance and will leave the bill at emergency rooms for the general public to pay (as we do already, only worse).  It’s got more hidden kinks than you can shake a stick at…most of them bad.

For a generally positive voter–that would be me–looks like I get a chance to vote no with a clear conscience.

Locally, different story: Library–YES! Fire district–YES!  No Brainers!