Important national matters elsewhere are still unresolved in the wake of the Nov. 6 midterm elections, but now that the dust has begun to settle from the local campaigns it is time to move on.
We believe most Clatsop County residents share our view that we can move ahead in a positive manner. After all, we all have to live as neighbors in the same community. While we will inevitably have some differences, we share a common commitment to making our region a great place to live.
Many local candidates threw their hats into the ring, and we commend them all for taking the time to run. Going door to door, appearing at forums, and having your opinions scrutinized by voters and the media isn’t an activity that everyone embraces with equal relish.
Most significantly, North Coast residents decided to dig deep into their pocketbooks to invest in our future, approving the school bonds for Astoria and Warrenton, as well as a new, expanded county jail. Public safety and good schools are the most important services local governments can provide. The North Coast gave these bond measures an enthusiastic thumbs up.
The Sunset Empire recreation project had its core of supporters, but about two-thirds of voters opposed the measure to fund the expansion of the aquatic facility and provide indoor recreation space at the Sunset Pool, opened in 1977. It may be a worthwhile project, but it fell victim to competing priorities, given the recent passage of the $99.7 million bond to move Seaside schools out of the tsunami zone.
The other element of our local elections we would like to highlight is the tone.
In recent years, the vitriol unleashed by participants in our national debate has become almost unbearable. There are times when we barely recognize the country that we know and love.
But here in our part of rural Oregon, we set an example of civility that others could do well to emulate. Most of the candidates for city councils and other races sought to emphasize that they were not running against their opponents so much as offering voters a choice of philosophy, talents and experience. Many bent over backwards to do so, praising their opponents while pointing out their differences.
That is healthy and near short of astonishing these days. There were some exceptions, with outrageous mailers, apparently from outside groups, and some questionable TV ads in one state race. But beyond that we escaped the bombardment of the raw venom of the “them-and-us” that characterizes almost all of the national discourse.
So, thanks everyone for keeping it civil. We look forward to reporting on the new leaders stepping into their new roles and responsibilities, and wish them well as they make decisions that affect our lives. We hope they will do so openly and collaboratively, listening to all points of view from their constituents.
Voters have done their job. Now it is up to them.
And for those who were not elected, we hope they will continue to find other ways to serve their communities with the same enthusiasm they showed in their campaigns.