CITY BEAT: Early voting for the April 4th Consolidated Election starts Thursday, Feb. 23
Early voting for the April 4th Consolidated Election starts Thursday, Feb. 23 and it will be interesting to see, in the weeks before election day, how much interest there is in the candidates and the questions put before the voters.
Seven candidates are running for the three seats up for election on the Decatur School Board. They are Bill Clevenger, Will Wetzel, Jacob Jenkins, Mark Reynolds, Misty Fronk, Hannah Wolfe and Jalynn Walker. (Eighth candidate Datrice Weathers has pulled out of the race.)
Four candidates are running for three seats on the city council. Lisa Gregory and Dennis Cooper are running to retain their seats on the council. Former long time council member Patrick McDaniel is running to get back his council seat after being away for two years. (He did not run for re-election two years ago.) The fourth candidate is Karl Coleman who is presently a member of the Macon County Board. Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe is running unopposed.
Other races on the ballot include trustees for Richland Community College where Ben Andreas and Wayne Dunning are the only candidates running for three seats, and Decatur Park District Commissioner where present commissioner Shelith Hansbro is running unopposed. The early voting location is at 141 South Main Street, Room 119, in Decatur.
• NO INTEREST — With the exception of the Decatur School Board race, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in area residents running for public office. The Decatur Park District has one candidate for the one seat that is up for election — and she is presently serving on the board. The Richland Community College Board has two candidates for the three open seats and they are presently serving on the board, which means they will be re-elected with no opposition and then the third member will have to be appointed,
The mayor’s race has only the incumbent running for the seat and there are only four candidates for the three seats up for election on the city council — which means three of the four candidates running will be elected.
The lack of opposition is not a reflection, good or bad, on the candidates, but only an observation about the lack of interest from citizens to step up and run for an office. There are also other offices in Central Illinois where not enough candidates are running to fill the open seats, so the various public bodies will have to appoint some willing citizens to serve instead of having them elected to the office.
I’m not sure why there is such a lack of interest in running for public office today. Maybe it is a lack of civility that is so apparent in politics today, which includes all the negativity that is often directed at officeholders at all levels.
The Decatur School Board race is somewhat refreshing, and unusual, because eight candidates are running which makes a sizeable field of platforms from which voters will have choices.
• I WAS getting ready to enter the downtown post office when I saw two young men in soldier’s uniforms approaching the door. One was carrying a box, so I opened the first door so they could walk through. Another man was coming out of the post office, so he opened the other door and said to the two men “Thank you for your service to our country.”
His thankful recognition of what the two young men meant to our nation was a bright spot in my day — and reminded me that I should have said the same words to them. We owe so much to those who step up to serve our nation, and to their families who also sacrifice for us.
• NOMINATED — I received an email today notifying me that I am under consideration to be in the next edition of “Who’s Who in America”! Well…kind of… The email was addressed to “Decatur Tribune”, apparently thinking that the newspaper is a person. I guess that’s a little better than the notice I received about a similar honor addressed to “Dear…” with no name. I think I will nominate my infamous possessed car “Christine” for the honor, and “Sparky, Decatur’s Smart-est Squirrel”. That could be history-making with the first car and first squirrel named to “Who’s Who in America”!
• MY STARS!!!! Darla Weltmer of Decatur sent me an email with a copy of a recent offer she received, which encouraged her to “place a small MARS CANDY BAR product small logo on your vehicle. The logo is very easy to remove without damaging your car or truck paint. This is a way of making yourself a side income while driving around to your normal daily routine. A certified check will be issued to you. Please contact me if you are interested in receiving $550 per week plus $50 for gas. Please submit your full name and address including your street address, apartment #, city, state, zip code and your cell phone number, primary email address, so we can mail out your first payment check.”
Reads like a real “sweet” deal to me — NOT!!!
Like me, Darla adheres to the sensible standard: “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true.” I think I receive a dozen scam messages a day at the office and while it is tempting to send them a clever response I resist the temptation and simply delete them. So should you.
• GASSED —John Harvey of Oakley sent me the following email: “There was an article in the Friday, Feb 10, 2023 issue of Decatur’s other paper, illustrating just how much the government bureaucracy is staffed by morons–absolute blithering IDIOTS!!
“The article talked about how the proposed new standards on gas stoves would save numerous cases of childhood asthma, money. It would save the average family a whole $21 over the life of the appliance–a whopping $2 a year. I bet that the stoves that comply with the new standard would cost a lot more additional than $21. It will still take the same number of BTUs to cook dinner, whether gas or electricity is used. Electricity is more expensive that gas per unit of energy.”
• WHAT? The Macon County Democratic Party sent out endorsement questionnaires for city council and school board candidates earlier this month and may have endorsed candidates by the time you read this week’s column. The questionaire reads: “We [The Macon County Democratic Party] are excited to announce the opening of our endorsement platform for the April 4th Consolidated Municipal Elections here in Macon County. Interested Candidates are invited to fill out this questionnaire to the best of their ability.
“This Form will be available from February 5th 2023 until 5pm on February 16th 2023. Successful candidates will receive a message from the Endorsement Committee of the Macon County Democratic Party on the 17th of February 2023.”
The city council and school board races are non-partisan. It is unusual for a local partisan political party to get involved in these races. City Council Candidate Patrick McDaniel told me Friday that he had not received a questionnaire from the group. Injecting partisan politics in a city council or school board race is not a good idea — regardless of which party is doing it — at least in my opinion.
• USPS CHANGE — This is the first week our print newspaper is being mailed under the new postal system changes which seem to be going to “tubs” instead of sacks in distribution to our readers. I hope you receive this week’s print edition the same day as always because we are delivering them to the post office on Mound Road at the same time as always.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider. I always enjoy our conversations.
Detailed candidate information is available on DecaturVote.com.
Jalynn Walker has also withdrawn from the School Board race.