Herndon voters will make a decision on Tuesday, on whom they wish to govern this Town for the next two years.
A sage* once said "A good thing about representative democracy is that the people get to decide their fate. And a bad thing about representative democracy is that the people get to decide their fate."
When the results are tabulated there will be winners and losers. One winner will get to celebrate as mayor; six winners will get to celebrate as Council members. The rest and their followers will commiserate. And if it evolves that we don't like the decisions we made, we can toss the bums out and do it over again in two years.
But the voters will be making another decision on Tuesday, and this is not one that can be corrected in 2014. Because in this election voters will be deciding if they want Herndon elections hereafter to be the small town non-partisan affairs of our tradition, or to become just another playground for political party apparatchiks and outside special interest groups.
The new requirement for campaign finance disclosure this year reveals some interesting asides. Whereas in past campaigns nearly anyone could run for office, and pony up maybe $2-3 thousand for his campaign, this year those numbers are doubling and tripling, and if one factors in the dollars from outside entities, a candidate's real cost is approaching $10,000 and vectoring upward. What average citizen can afford such a price tag for public service where the remuneration is only $4-6 thousand?
For the first time in Herndon elections, political parties have inserted themselves into our once non-partisan elections. As have also special interest groups with deep, deep pockets. While the Democrat Party broke the ice for this partisan involvement in this election, do you think that if the Democrats are successful this time, that in 2014 the Republican Party will sit idly by? While some Democrats may gloat if their party assisted and financed candidates win this time, do they realize the divide they will have crossed?
In the past we had elections where twelve or more candidates would run for Council, a diverse sampling of involved citizens who brought many viewpoints to the table, almost always on their own dime. In 2014, they will be out of luck. The only candidates able to participate in Herndon elections are those whom the ruling political parties select and fund. Everyone else will be priced out of the game. It will not be Herndon's interests at play, but the grander games of political parties and outside special interest groups.
A small town non-partisan election, or just another battlefield for Republicans, Democrats, and PACs? Either is allowable and viable. But you must make that choice, and this is the year that it will have to be made. See you at the polls.