As we note that there is a General Municipal and School Board Election next week on April 8, methinks it’s time for a public service announcement that I haven’t made in a while. Go vote. Take 15 or 20 minutes out of your day and go cast your ballot. Be a part of the democratic process that will elect school board, city council and other municipal officials in your area. Make your voice on ballot questions and issues heard. Now, I say this knowing full well that the majority of you will not listen. You won’t go to the polls next Tuesday. It’s a historical fact that apathy reigns when it comes to spring elections. In fact, if the overall percentage of registered Platte County voters who turn out at the polls next week reaches 20 percent, it will be a banner year. How sad. School boards and city councils make decision that impact our daily lives almost immediately, yet we cannot muster enough time or interest to play our part in shaping those decision-making entities. OK, there it is, my PSA on exercising the greatest right/privilege we have: casting a free will vote. Now, here are a few of my observations about a few races, candidates, etc. CENTRAL PLATTE FIRE BOARD Normally, races for spots on this Board don’t draw much attention and there are not a lot of politics involved. Not so this year. In fact, we have the unusual — and some might call it unprofessional and unethical — circumstance of a current Board member of the Central Platte Fire Board openly campaigning for the opponent of a fellow current member of the Board. Central Platte Board member Andy Stanton — who defeated longtime Board member Stanley George by a measly 10 votes in a 2,500 vote election a few years back and thinks that gives him some kind of a mandate — purchased an ad in this newspaper this week calling for voters to elect Rusty Townsend over current sitting Board member Mike Ashcraft. Stanton’s ad proclaims it to be the “fiscally responsible” thing to do. Hmmmm. Would that be a fiscally responsible thing to do in the same vein as Stanton pushing for an all-out audit of the District last year that cost taxpayers more than $20,000? It should be noted that said audit was not required by state law and turned up nothing more than a few procedural suggestions that could have obtained by a procedural audit with a price tag of less than half of the full audit. Fiscally responsible? Hardly — more like putting a torch to about $15,000 of taxpayer money. Now, Stanton is not happy because the Fire District needs to replace one of its outdated pumpers in order to keep its excellent ISO rating, which in turn helps you and I pay low homeowners insurance premiums. A new fire truck is expensive — the estimate is around $650,000. But, unlike the five-figure audit that was not needed, the District needs a new truck and after all, that’s why it has a voter-approved tax levy: to raise money for new fire trucks, equipment and firefighter pay. Stanton thinks that Townsend will side with him and make “fiscally responsible” decisions, so he is campaigning for him and against a fellow Board member. That seems like a pretty lowdown thing to do. I don’t know Townsend very well, but that fact alone will have me casting a vote for Ashcraft next week. R-3 SCHOOL BOARD This race between three incumbents and a challenger who are fighting for three spots is a referendum on optimism versus negativity. I vowed a few months ago not to mention his name in this space, but I have to give the challenger credit for putting his money where his very active and critical mouth has been the past few years. But just a little. I can’t stomach his message, which is based on twisting numbers and cherry-picking problems. Is the R-3 School District perfect? Of course, not — there isn’t a public school district on the planet that is. But to suggest that District officials are purposely misleading patrons about growth management and to infer they’re incompetent when it comes to academic achievement....... come on. I’m betting that most R-3 patrons know better. Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.