Editorial: Help work at democracy

Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2014, 11:00 pm
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
If you're like us, the awful political ads already poisoning the Q-C airwaves have you squealing that the Nov. 4 election is still more than two months away.

As we suffer the latest over-the-top television ads attacking Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley over in Iowa and brace ourselves for the onslaught of similar dark money-fueled screeds against Illinois' Cheri Bustos and Bobby Schilling in the weeks ahead, it might be easier for even the most civic-minded of us to tune out and turn off our political passions.

But please resist the urge, especially when it comes to what is arguably the most important election of all. No, not the one for president or even those congressional races, though they are very important.
This election picks the folks who most directly impact our day-to-day lives; the ones to choose the people who run our cities and towns.

Even though the Illinois consolidated municipal election isn't until April 7, 2015, it's already time to consider whether or not you'd like to try your hand at leading your community. Filing packages for candidates interested in serving as aldermen became available this week.

And though there are no contests for area mayors, here in the metro-Illinois Quad-Cities there are a host of city council seats up for election. Though the filing deadline is a few months away for those interested in running, decisions and plans must be made and signatures collected and the calendar has a way of getting away from us as one busy season transitions into another.

So, if you have an interest in running for your city council, we urge you to consider visiting city hall to get the forms and information you need to get on the ballot for the municipal contest on April 15, 2014. If a primary is needed, it will be held Feb. 24, 2015.

If you hesitate to get involved in party politics -- and given the current divisive political climate that's understandable -- perhaps this fact will sweeten the pot: In Moline and Rock Island, where city councils are nonpartisan, candidates don't have to declare a political party.

You simply need to pick up a packet at city hall and fill out the necessary forms and take the steps outlined to qualify for election. (You also can find out more by going to Illinois State Board of Elections website at elections.state.il.us.)

-- In Moline, open positions include city clerk and aldermen in the first, third, fifth and seventh wards. Completed forms can be filed with the city clerk, 619 16th St., Moline, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17-24.

-- In Rock Island, alderman seats are up for wards two, four and six. Forms are available starting at 8 a.m. today in the city clerk's office, 1528 3rd Ave. Alderman seats up for election are wards 2, 4 and 6. Completed packets can be filed with the city clerk clerk at 1528 3rd Ave., Rock Island, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17-24.

-- In East Moline, alderman posts in wards two, four and six are up for election. Party candidate should file completed packets with the clerk at 915 16th Ave., between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17-24.

-- In Silvis, which has partisan municipal elections, party candidates can file completed packets with the clerk (121 11th St., Silvis) for one of the alderman spots in wards one, two, three and four. Party candidates can file their completed packets between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17-24. For those running as independents, petitions cannot be circulated prior to Sept. 23 and need to be filed during business hours Dec. 15-22.

Serving in your local government can be a difficult job. But we've also been told by elected leaders over the years that it is also can be hugely rewarding. Chances are good, for example, that somewhere along the way you could be involved in setting public policy that will continue to influence your community long after you're gone. Everything from the water you drink to the streets you drive on are impacted by local elected officials.

It's unfortunate these days public servants of every stripe seem to be painted with the same angry brush. But without caring citizens who are willing to lead, government would grind to a standstill.
As the New Yorker's celebrated critic Alexander Woollcott said, "I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it."

Please consider working at democracy for your community.


Local events heading

  Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.

(More History)