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Scary Times

This Halloween one needn’t resort to make-believe to conjure up some of this season’s most horrific scares.  Reality on several different fronts is enough to make most of us scurry beneath the covers.  So forget about the garden-variety ghouls that cause many a child to sleep with one eye open; here’s what really sends shivers up our spine, especially as Election Day nears:

– Amendment 4.   Already a Nightmare on Elm Street for the citizens of St. Pete Beach, proponents of Amendment 4 would apparently like to see the same litiginous creature crush the rest of the state’s sagging economy.

When they passed a similar local amendment in 2006, the voters of St. Pete Beach did so under the impression that they were empowering themselves to democratically ratify or reject every proposed amendment to their city’s comprehensive land-use plan.  Instead they unwittingly created a budget-busting monster that’s been out of control ever since; a creature that’s brought nothing but misery in the form of dozens of special interest law suits challenging the results of each costly taxpayer-financed referendum.  So far the taxpayers of St. Pete Beach are still defending their votes in court and have nothing to show for all their good intentions but mounting legal fees that now approach a million dollars (in this economy, no less).

A comprehensive land-use plan is a complex, living document that is fully expected to change over time as a community grows, hopefully prospers and re-orders its civic priorities.  It is one of the reasons we elect city and county commissioners to represent us.  One of their most important tasks is to study such lengthy and complex issues, master their content and vote knowledgeably and responsibly on our behalf.

Please let our commissioners do the job we’re confident they’re up to.   Vote NO on Tuesday and bury this beastly Amendment 4 in a steep landslide.   Once and for all.

– Politicians.  Nothing is more frightening—nor frankly, more disheartening—than seeing politicians in the heat of a campaign behave in ways we diligently raise our own children not to.   We go to extraordinary lengths to teach our offspring to always observe the golden rule; then watch together in horror as many of those who would represent us at the highest levels of government viciously sling mud and hurl unflattering epithets at one other with startling abandon.  Often after very publicly avowing at the outset to remain above the fray.  We’re not suggesting that every politician is guilty of using negative campaign tactics.  But even one is one too many.

Americans have never needed to elect forward thinking, problem-solving candidates more than we do right now.  What we’ve gotten instead is government gridlock secondary to the worst forms of partisan bickering and gross incivility ever witnessed in an election cycle.  Politics was once considered a noble calling; with those who aspired to public office counted among our children’s best role models.   Now instead, far too many politicians comport themselves like the characters we warn our children to avoid at all cost; content to gloss over real bread-and-butter issues en route to portraying their opponents as little more than evil, one-dimensional “bogeymen.”

The most chilling part of these downbeat campaigns—next to the astonishing lack of substance—is that the next race always seems to break out the day after the latest one has been decided.  Sooner or later we may have to resort to the silver bullet called “term limits” to finally stop these politicians from viewing their jobs as one eternal quest for re-election and the perks of holding office.

– Stay-at-home voters. By far the scariest goblin in town is the stay-at-home voter. It’s perfectly understandable to be completely fed-up with mud-slingers of every political persuasion.  But the real horror that could send this nightmare into overtime is if voters choose to signal their disgust by staying home on Election Day.  Politicians who care more about their jobs than yours will never cease to roam the earth until we use the ballot box to drive the proverbial “stake through their hearts.”

Stay at home on Tuesday and those politicians who used negative tactics to win their races may well consider theirs a popular mandate to continue their mud-slinging ways.   Faster than you can say “boo.”

  • User Gravatar Ann Runyon Peterson
    October 28th, 2010

    This cleverly written article contains great truths. I enjoyed the read, voted early and now I sit back and watch the “scary stuff” unfold.

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