What we think: We need more willing candidates

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By The Staff

The deadline is less than a week away for the final slate of candidates for this year’s General Election, and we’re concerned that the list of those interested in public service won’t grow at all.

The races for Simpsonville City Commission and the Shelby County School Board are drawing far less attention than they did in 2008. No new blood or – worse – new ideas have emerged.

We have nothing against the incumbents. They serve with passion and commitment to be praised. But we have said before and renew it here that we would like to have more voices than the few who already have been chosen. Those voices help us grow.

And there is time to rectify our situation for this year, but we aren’t hopeful. We haven’t seen citizens attend meetings of those two groups to soak up information, see their leaders do their work or contribute to the public discourse on any point.

In fact, in Simpsonville, only former commissioner Dottie Shelburne has voiced her opinion on any direct issue, and she did so only because the city bought a piece of property adjacent to its campus.

The school board has had an astounding year of new issues, with the construction of a new high school, the creation of a new educational environment and the hiring of a number of new educational leaders and instructors, all during extremely tenuous economic times on both the state and county levels.

Now it appears that the next big phase of school planning – the updating and replacement of several existing schools in the next few years – will be handled without any new thoughts or positions.

We have seen and listened as citizens have complained about some aspects of opening Collins High School.

But we also know those contributions came on three specific issues: rezoning of students, changes in the agriculture program and how the sports programs would be handled and by whom they would be led.

Anything else, whatever action the school board took earned a rubber stamp from the community.

Those approaches are not unique to these two governmental bodies.

We have attended numerous meetings of the Shelbyville City Council, the Shelby County Fiscal Court and Triple S Planning & Zoning and seen little attendance or interest from the public in general.

It’s as if those who might be educated enough to serve rely on second-hand information rather than first-hand observation. The grapevine can be a gold mine of information – some of it even accurate – but we would wish that more residents would take a visible and active interest in the public’s business.

And we wish a few of them would consider being a part of the decision-making and not just the second-guessing.

There are six days to go for those who might help in Simpsonville and with the school board.

Won’t just a couple of you stick your hands in the air and your names on the ballot and see if you have contributions all residents might want to hear.

If you don’t, we are only left to conclude that everything is going just perfectly for all.