I am running for a fairly obscure elected position. In fact, a common reaction when I tell people that I’m running for the SCVWD Board is, “That’s elected?” What public attention the Board has received has come about from coverage in the Mercury. Which is why I find the situation described by this article from The New Yorker so disturbing. Not that it took reading it to make me aware of the parlous state of our daily print media, but it’s a thorough, if depressing, overview of the subject. However wonderful it is in other ways, the blogosphere doesn’t have the reporting resources of even a mid-size paper like the Merc. OK, you’ve got me covering the Board meetings, but I have an obvious agenda here, don’t I? Contemplating life without daily newspapers, where is the truly disinterested coverage going to come from, not only of the Water District, but of all local politics?
Local government, overwhelmingly, has the biggest effect on our everyday lives, and yet taking an active interest in it tends to evoke the same kinds of reactions as does trainspotting or Civil War reenactments. I’m obviously interested in it; I have to think that you are, too, if you’re here reading this. But we’re in a definite minority, and I have no answers at all about how to involve more people, except that reducing the amount of information available is going the wrong direction.
I also have to say that the other common reaction I get to news of my candidacy is defensiveness that the person I’m telling doesn’t know which district she lives in, so I know full well that haranguing people isn’t the way to go, either.