The lost 4,717

Published 8:51 pm Monday, November 17, 2008

It seems that a lot of people simply don’t care what’s going on in Suffolk.

The long-anticipated election was held two weeks ago. In Suffolk, 41,118 people turned out to choose from among six candidates for president of the United States.

However, when faced with a choice of six candidates (and the write-in slot) for mayor of Suffolk, only 36,401 people cast a vote.

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That leaves me wondering where those other 4,717 voters were.

Those 4,717 voters must think that the presidential election is more important than the mayor’s race. I guess they thought that either Barack Obama or John McCain was going to do more for them than Linda Johnson, Dwight Nixon or Tom Powell would do.

I’d like to present a challenge to those 4,717 people.

Next time you have a pothole out in front of your house, show up at the Oval Office and tell President Obama you’d like to have it fixed.

Is there a traffic problem in your neighborhood? If so, I bet President Obama can take action to make the streets where your children play safer.

Do you think too much tax money goes to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts? President Obama will take care of that.

Was your house assessed unfairly? Forget about Mayor Linda Johnson – take that straight to the White House.

Don’t want the CenterPoint development in your backyard? Maybe President Obama can help you.

I’m not ripping on Johnson or Obama here. My point would have been the same no matter the outcome – the decisions made by the mayor, City Council and School Board affect your actual, day-to-day life far more than those made by the president.

Yes, the president has an important job, and one that affects the entire world. His foreign policy decisions can make or break a nation. His decisions on issues do affect us, and we all have a responsibility to vote for the person we think is best suited for the job.

However, do we not have that same responsibility to vote for mayor? Last year’s City Council worked hard to ensure that Suffolk voters could elect their mayor this year, and it seems that counted for naught amongst almost 13 percent of Suffolk residents who voted.

Four years from now, it would be great to see an electorate that is truly educated about the candidates and races at stake – ALL of them.