CITY BEAT: ONE ELECTION IS OVER, ANOTHER IS UNDERWAY IN THE RACE FOR THREE DECATUR CITY COUNCIL SEATS
Believe it or not, just as we have finished the General Election, there is another campaign ready to take off. Nominating petitions for three available seats on the Decatur City Council may be filed in the office of the City Clerk on the 3rd floor of the Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary Anderson Plaza, starting Monday (Nov. 16) at 8:00 a.m., through 4:00 p.m. Friday (Nov. 20) and from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23. City Clerk Kim Althoff also wants candidates to note that she cannot provide any legal advice “with regard to the election process.”
Usually, candidates try to be at the city clerk’s office a little before 8:00 a.m. on the first day of filing in an attempt to be listed first on the ballot. If more than one candidate is at the city clerk’s office at 8:00 when the petitions are accepted, a drawing is held later to determine the order of listing on the ballot. As I recall, when I ran for my first term as mayor, I filed at 8:00 and a couple of other mayoral candidates filed at the same time. When the drawing was held to determine the order of mayoral candidates on the ballot, I wasn’t first. I may have been third. Back then, the number of candidates running necessitated a primary election to reduce the number for mayor down to two — the two candidates who received the most votes. That was also true for the three council seats that were up for election — a primary would be held to reduce the number of candidates to six for the three seats.
I finished first in the primary and in the municipal election candidates are listed on the ballot in the order they finished in the primary — so I was listed first on the ballot, but, with only two candidates left for the office following the primary, I never saw being first on the ballot as a particular advantage. I think the only real advantage in being listed first or last on a ballot is in communities where there may be 10-20 candidates in the primary. The municipal election will be held April 6, 2021. The rules have changed since I ran for my two terms as mayor, usually making a primary election unnecessary because the number of candidates for the council seats and the mayor’s position has doubled to require a primary. If there is a flood of candidates a primary will be held in February, 2021, to reduce the field for the April Municipal Election.
• SO FAR, we have four candidates for the three city council seats that will be up for election in April. Incumbents Chuck Kuhle and David Horn are seeking re-election to four year terms. Incumbent Pat McDaniel, who has served ten years on the council is not running for re-election. Challengers, as of this writing, are Ed Culp and William (Will) Wetzel. Culp announced a few weeks ago and Wetzel announced Tuesday afternoon. An article about Wetzel’s announcement is elsewhere on this site.
• THE growing number of COVID-19 related deaths and infections in our county is alarming and that’s a mild term for it. In fact, Macon County is one of the highest counties in the state when it comes to the number of infections and positivity rate. Last week, a third of the hospital beds in our county were occupied by COVID-19 patients! Our community leaders, the health department and health care workers continue to emphasize the rising numbers are the result of many of our residents not practicing safe measures — wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands frequently and staying away from gatherings. I really don’t know what it takes to convince people that COVID-19 is a growing threat to the health of people in our community — and to the economic well being of businesses and government. Many of the people I see not wearing a mask are older residents who are most at risk.
• OUR COMMUNITY does not have the ability to create a vaccine to work against COVID, so all we can do is play defense. We have no offense to protect ourselves — except to play defense and reduce the odds of getting the virus or infecting others. Please protect yourself and others because all indications are this is going to get worse before it gets better —and how many people have to die in this nation before we quit making COVID-19 a political issue instead of a health issue? When the pandemic started, I didn’t know, or have connections to ,many of the people who were infected, or passed away. Now, each passing week, I recognize the names of more and more people who are getting COVID-19. Some are not having major health issues with it (at least right now) and others are in the hospital — and they are all connected to people I know.
• I WILL be on WSOY’s Byers & Co. Thursday at 7:00 a.m. for my usual weekly visit with Brian to talk about the issues impacting our community. I always enjoy talking with Brian.
• STAY SAFE everyone.