The good citizen goes to the candidates forum for the school board election, because even though he has no children and never did, he always votes and believes that public schools are important. And I've found there's nothing like an in-person forum to find out what the candidates for obscure local offices are really like, behind their bland web sites and the uncommunicative newspaper writeups.
There in fact are two school boards, one for the younger children's schools and one for high school. Each board has three seats open and, with only one incumbent running between them, it's a pretty open race, four candidates for one board and six for the other.
Two of the six, including the sole incumbent, stand out above the others for skill with words and clarity of vision. Nothing riveting, just a few good points. It's hard to choose among three for the third spot, but I think I can cross off one. She's not terrible, but she reads most of her answers from cue cards. Mostly she finds ones that vaguely fit the question asked, but sometimes ... not. She's also the only candidate who refuses to take a position for, as all the others do, or even against, our school construction bond measure. She says it's for the voters to decide. Sure it is, but what do you think?
For the other panel, three of the four are experienced volunteers and advisory board members who just want to move up to fill the vacancies. They're in the usual mode of aspiring local politicians, more interested in discussing process than goals. Saying that you want to improve communication means little - doesn't everyone in a context like this? - unless you say what direction you want that communication to move.
The fourth candidate is different. With no prep background in the schools, but boasting accountancy and business experience, he's a kindergarten dad who just decided to run for school board. He could have been a flake, but I like his observations, naive though they are, even when - as with reform of state school-funding policy - they're far beyond the powers of a school board.
The city council one is in two weeks.