Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Finally it's Election Day. At least it's Election Day for everyone who didn't vote by absentee ballot. It's another beautiful late fall day, sunny and warm. The chickens are roaming the yard, playing out their little chicken rivalries. Gas prices are unusually low, $2.26 at the BP station in Lake Leelanau. It's the sort of day that tempts us to think that the golden days might just go on forever, even though all logic tells us otherwise.

Richard has been fishing and has voted already this morning. One 14 inch walleye, not a keeper, and a short wait to vote. I keep thinking about my own campaign, thinking of more people that I could have talked to. I did more door-to-door canvassing, more advertising, and more standing in front of the post office than my opponents.

But I am running as a Democrat in an area where running as a Democrat has always been the kiss of death. It turned out that many of my supporters were the orphaned moderate Republicans. Many of the people I met going door-to-door told me that they were so fed up that they were voting straight Democrat this year. The guy I carpool with won't vote for me, nor will his wife, because "We always vote straight Republican." I ended up leaving party reference off of my pamphlets and ads because all it seemed to do was muddy the waters.

Leland Township will face challenges in the coming years, much as we wish the golden days to go on. Energy prices will make our area less attractive as a Traverse City bedroom community. We can expect Big Wind to come back again with tempting lease terms for our farmers; we will also be confronted with the idea of windmills out on Lake Michigan. Our lake shore septic puzzle isn't going to solve itself. Public school funding will continue to be a problem, exacerbated by those volatile energy prices. A combination of the economic slowdown and Michigan's pop-up tax are already affecting our real estate market in unexpected ways. The harbor renovation will fly or falter depending on state funding.

So many of theses issues will be resolved -- or not resolved--by the various levels of government working in combination. Playing chess with Anna yesterday reminded me of trying to figure out these local issues. The best land for wind towers is in the northern tip of Leelanau county, but there are no transmission lines, but the new Comprehensive Energy Plan provides for expediting the siting transmission lines. There are lots of possible scenarios and how they play out depends on who is elected at the various levels. It's hard to imagine a county board that won't require some type of septic inspections, even if it's only for antique lake shore systems. It's equally hard to imagine a state legislature that actually faces up to school funding and the pop up tax problem.

Liz has tickets to go hear Obama speak at Grant Park tonight. I think it will be a victory speech but I'm wary enough that I warned her to take a friend and stick with him. And to wear shoes she can walk in. I can't stop contemplating all possible scenarios.

So I'm off to vote, to do my small part in shaping our future. Wish me luck.

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