Kevin MacMillan: Plenty of local races on tap for general election
July 2, 2014
Now that the primary elections are behind us, is everyone ready for the real deal?
The filing period for the general election in California begins July 14 and lasts through Aug. 8 (extending to Aug. 13 if no incumbents file), and there are plenty of local districts that have seats up on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Here's a breakdown of what local races our residents could be voting on:
Three seats, Tahoe Truckee Unified School district board
Two seats, Truckee Tahoe Airport District
Three seats, Northstar Community Services District
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Two seats, North Tahoe Fire Protection District
Three seats, Truckee Fire Protection District
Three seats, Tahoe Forest Hospital District
Two seats, Donner Summit Public Utility District
Three seats, North Tahoe Public Utility District Seat
Two seats, Tahoe City Public Utility District
Three seats, Truckee Donner-Recreation & Park District
Three seats, Truckee Sanitary District
Two seats, Squaw Valley Public Service District
Three seats, Truckee Town Council
Two seats, Truckee Donner Public Utility District
All this — coupled with last week's news that a pair of bond measures totaling $176 million for capital improvements at TTUSD campuses will be on the Nov. 4 ballot — means we should be in store for a very interesting election year.
But, in reference to the aforementioned board seats, I say "could be" because the odds of each featuring races is very slim. Just look at 2012 — only six of 14 districts up for election on the California side of our coverage area featured challengers.
It's a point that Jim McCauley, Placer County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters, made in a press statement last week: "Every general election, dozens of people are appointed to local district boards because there are not enough people who file for office."
Hopefully, we get some better participation this year.
I find election season at a super local level like ours a very worthwhile endeavor for a newspaper to cover. For the most part, we're spared the headaches that come with mud-slinging election ads on television, and instead can work with the community to host informative public forums and debates to give our voters options.
With that in mind, I'm looking for a favor from Sierra Sun readers. As we bore into the summer and fall after these races begin to firm up, we'll be conducting interviews with candidates and asking questions about the most important issues to not only their respective district, but to the taxpayers each serves.
So what are the pressing questions? We have plenty already lined up to ask, but we want to make sure our residents get a chance to have their issues vetted and questions asked.
Is it right to tax residents to pay for school repairs? How should the town's Economic Development Support Program incentives be handled? Are you satisfied with electricity or water rates from your local PUD? Are our fire board directors overseeing their respective districts appropriately?
These only scratch the surface. I want to hear yours, so we can put our candidates to the test. Email me a question you'd like asked of those who filed for office, and so long as it's appropriate, we'll be sure to pose it.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspapers; he may be reached for comment at email@example.com.