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What? Again?


Pay attention, readers. I know it's not nearly as exciting as last month's dump-the-governor trip to the polls, but there's an election next week. A seat on your local school board or community services district may be up for grabs.

Since it is impossible for the Journal to cover all the individual races throughout the county, we concentrated our efforts on one that has an impact on the greatest number of people -- the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Conservation and Recreation District where two seats are open. And we included a sampling of the more interesting school and service district races.

Having served on the Fieldbrook Elementary School Board many years ago, I am always very appreciative of those willing to run. I recall many an evening meeting plodding through first and second readings of policies with nary a parent in the audience, only to face a packed house the next month because we dared to adjust the starting time of kindergarten.

It is unfortunate that these good-hearted people have to pay for the privilege of running. I'm not talking about customary lawn signs and coffee klatches, but the high cost of printing a basic candidate's statement in the voter guide mailed to voters prior to the election. Running for a seat on the harbor district this go-round can cost more than $1,100 just to introduce yourself. Small and weirdly overlapping districts are also spendy. There is one precinct in the Arcata Bottom where a mere 50 potential voters with a unique ballot will choose board members for Pacific Union Elementary School and Northern Humboldt Union High School District, and the Manila Community Services District. Elections chief Lindsey McWilliams says the 28 different ballots needed for this election will push the cost far beyond the $160,000 the county was forced to spend on last month's recall.

McWilliams also said voter turnout next week is expected to be only around 35 percent, down substantially from last month's 62 percent.

Wouldn't it be nice if those numbers were reversed?



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