Archived Story

Jack Strayer: We need to turn out on Election Day and vote against apathy

Published 10:49pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When I agreed to write a monthly column for the Niles Daily Star as part of its community commentary series, I promised that it would “be my responsibility to write an opinion piece that generates community conversation and addresses injustices. I guarantee that will be my goal in future columns.”
Looking back to my first column that appeared in March of this year, I thought I was headed in the right direction. That column was about local CPA Bill Haslett being named Niles Man of the Year and that his name has been misspelled creating a cyber injustice.  The Daily Star made the correction and now his grandchildren can Google “Grandpa” and find the story about the award presented to Bill by the Chamber of Commerce. Mission accomplished!
The April column was about the cut in FICA taxes and the impact that misguided effort would have on the future of Medicare and Social Security. Well, President Obama has asked for yet another cut in FICA as part of his proposed jobs program. This will make matters worse for Medicare and Social Security, so I get a big fat “F” for trying to lobby Congress and the Obama administration on doing the right thing
I also get a big fat “F” for my May column on obesity. I am still reading articles about the dramatic growth in obesity rates since the 1980s, even though the definition of obesity was changed in 1996. As a nation, we are getting fatter, no question. But we are not getting that fat!
When Niles received notice that is was named the Best Main Street in Michigan, I wrote a column in June about that and the branding and marketing program that would follow.  The marketing and branding program “Dig In! A Downtown Revolution!” was successfully launched in mid-September. Another mission accomplished!
And then I wrote my July column, “Recalling Voter Apathy.” Voter apathy is what I am writing about today. We all need a reminder that Nov. 8 is Election Day and we will be either re-electing Mayor Mike McCauslin or electing 4th Ward Alderman Tim Skalla mayor.
Hats off to the Niles Daily Star for its deep coverage of the race for mayor. The staff of the local paper has done an extraordinarily good job of not only covering the campaign, but also reporting on the two candidates’ differing positions on major issues.
I am not endorsing anyone for mayor because that is a personal choice. That is not the point of this column. The point of this column is voter apathy.
Everyone needs to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The City of Niles has an embarrassingly low record of voter turnout and I cannot understand why. The voter turnout for the 2010 election was 23.3 percent of the voters of the City of Niles. For years, the City of Niles and Niles Charter Township were bellwether precincts for determining the outcome of presidential races. Well, in the past 10 years we haven’t cast enough ballots to indicate any type of voting trend, except growing voter apathy. We can do better.
The City of Niles is entering a new phase with the retirement of Terry Eull, Niles’ long-time city administrator. Terry has done an amazing job in turning Niles around, and we need to maintain the positive momentum. Only a strong voter turnout can make the difference in moving forward to continue community improvement. Fortunately for the voters, they have two good candidates with different ways to reach that goal.
Whomever wins on Tuesday, Nov. 8, let us all make sure they get the message that we as a community are involved and that we care. This can only be achieved by voting on Election Day. Cast your vote against voter apathy!

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