This is an "off year" for elections, in that there are no presidential, congressional or gubernatorial races, but Detroit has a lot of important issues on the ballot. All of the city council seats are up for grabs, and given the perennial drama surrounding Detroit's city council, we need some good people there. We're electing a charter commission that will rewrite Detroit's city charter. Very important. There's a proposal to change the city council from 9 at-large members to 7 district representatives and 2 at-large members. From what I understand, there were good reasons for the current composition method, but as times have changed, council by districts makes a lot of sense now. There's a $500 million bond proposal to upgrade and modernize a number of school buildings and 4 school board members need to be chosen. Detroit Public Schools is currently in receivership with an emergency financial manager. Again, important issues to be addressed. Oh yeah, the mayor is up for re-election too, but he's only been in a few months and he's expected to stay.
I heard on the radio today that voter turn out is expected to be low, maybe 20-25%. I don't know how that compares to other elections, but it seems like more people should care with so many important decisions at stake. Is it apathy - a sense of hopelessness that things can change? Are people too busy just trying to survive to care about voting? I wonder how many people are overwhelmed by all the issues and all the choices. I know I am.
I didn't vote in the primary because figuring out which of the 167 city council candidates to vote for was just too much. Yes, 167. I feel a bit that way now too, needing to pick 9 out of 18 candidates for both city council and the charter commission. Our local public radio station has been interviewing all of the candidates over the last few weeks and I had good intentions of listening to them online, but 15 minutes x 36 candidates + life with a 12 week old baby + election day snuck up on me = I still have no idea who to vote for. I'm at least going to read the document that came from the DPS financial manager before tomorrow and do my best to make good choices for the rest.
I'm not exactly sure what my point is, or if I have one. Detroit needs some good leadership and this election is an important opportunity to pick some new leaders with vision and ability, but I wonder if it will really happen. I know I haven't done my part and wonder how many other people are in the same position as me.