From Left Field
By BOB SHRALUKA
Say what you will, but given the fact that only two names were on the ballot, a 27 percent turnout for the recent election here probably wasn't all that awful. There have been elections with many more candidates that didn't draw a turnout much larger than 27 percent.
Those turnout numbers, though, also underscore the sheer stupidity of not having unopposed candidates on the ballot — unless, of course, one is concerned only with saving money.
There are people out there who will go to the polls and cast a ballot purely because they like a particular candidate, even if that candidate has no opposition. And while they're at it, they'll probably punch a name or two in contested races.
Carrying on the silliness of it all, some counties were allowed to go ahead and list unopposed candidates on their ballots. Let's see: you can't, but you can ... if you want ... maybe.
It wasn't done in Adams County because by the time the go-ahead-and-do-it ruling came out, the ballots here were already printed.
The unopposed-off thing, of course, seems to fall in line with new trend in politics: do everything possible to suppress voting. ID is required in many states because of all that alleged massive voter fraud — at least .0000001%, according to all statistics.
Some states have tried to do away with early voting, others with same-day registration, and so on. Instead of making it easier, the trend now is to make it more difficult for one to exercise his/her Constitutional right. Ah, poliicians!
A deserved victory
Cam Collier certainly deserved his big win in the race for the city council's at-large seat.
Collier hustled for at least a couple of months, knocking on doors here, raising funds there, becoming visible everywhere possible ... and attending most city council meetings to stay in touch with what's going on.
From here, his win is seen not as a repudiation of Barb Engle, but more along the lines of giving a new, young, eager-to-work guy an opportunity to serve his community, something he so obviously desires.
Plus, Collier benefited from what could aptly be labeled as the Noetzel Machine, and not in the negative connotation often associated with "machine" and politics. County GOP chairman Rob Noetzel has put together an impressive party organization and an equally impressive record. You just knew he was going to get his people out to vote on Election Day.
Noetzel not only gets candidates, he gets good candidates. Collier will be a welcome addition to council, bringing a fresh perspective, some new ideas. And it's obvious he's a worker.
Barb, meanwhile, has given the city 12 years of good service and, as so many have said since the election, she certainly deserves our appreciation.
The community has certainly been losing some good ones lately, such as Bill Journay and Bonnie Caston.
We've known Bill for years and years, but really got to know him while serving together on the now-defunct committee to annually select a couple of Bellmont graduates who went on to distinguish themselves in their respective fields. And he was an absolute delight; funny, easy to talk to, and yet serious when seriousness was demanded.
Bonnie and her husband, DuWayne, meanwhile, have contributed so much to our community, and for many years. Bonnie was one of those people who gave in so many ways, yet few knew just how much. It was after her passing that so many of contributions came to light.
Perhaps Bonnie was best summed up so succinctly by someone in the office, who said, upon learning of her passing, "Oh, my gosh; she was such a NICE lady."
Jumpin' the aisle
On a closing note, Barb Engle said at this week's council meeting that a story in this newspaper was incorrect in saying she changed parties after a primary. "No, it was during the (General Assembly) session. I walked from one side of the aisle to the other and said, 'I'm voting here now,' " she laughed.