Municipal races gain little interest from Fox Chapel area voters
If the recent primary election left you feeling underwhelmed, you're not alone.
There were few races across the Lower Valley and few people turned out to vote.
Going in, political observers warned that it would be dismal. They guessed that less than half of the Allegheny County's registered voters would care enough to carve out five extra minutes in their day to stop at a local fire hall or church basement to cast their vote on who will run their schools and municipalities for the next four years.
That estimate, it turns out, was lofty compared to the actual 18 percent of registered voters who showed up.
Pundits might say that's typical for a primary contest — the county has a 23 percent voter turnout in primaries over the last eight years — but the numbers still are pathetic. Sadly, you can't really blame people who don't bother to vote when there's little to nothing to choose from. There's a circle of apathy that sorely needs to be broken.
Here, in the communities that comprise the Fox Chapel Area School District, there were only three races where residents could even cast a vote that mattered. The remainder of the competitions saw candidates running unopposed.
There was a heated race for Sharpsburg Mayor between Democratic incumbent Richard Panza and newcomer Karen Iezzi, and five candidates sought four open seats on Sharpsburg council. There were four candidates vying for two open seats in Region 3 of the school district.
The rest of the council and mayoral races were uncontested and provided virtual wins for the primary candidates, no matter how many people turned out to vote.
Of the 30,000 or so residents that live in our six communities, about 30 people ran for local government offices. That's one-tenth of 1 percent.
As reporters, we get paid to attend those monthly meetings and share information on tax rates, road closures and pension plans. And many times, we are the only people in the audience, which used to surprise me.
Doesn't anyone care how the elected officials are spending your money?
Which roads will be paved this summer?
Which parks are on the improvement list?
How much money the new fire truck costs? How much of a raise the public works department is getting?
Participating in local government, either by running for office or at the very least showing up at monthly meetings, is a way to have a hand in shaping daily life. You can't only show up when you have a complaint.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Lovejoy says individual play is problematic
- Western Pa. May markets, plant sellers ready to spring into action
- Greensburg high school roundup: No. 4 Hempfield baseball routs Norwin
- NFL Draft preview: Safety crop offers no sure-fire stars
- Lexus sport coupe has youthful appeal, power
- Mars’ Rinaman sprints to 2 gold medals at host invitational
- Magma chamber spied under Yellowstone volcano
- Ross 5K event, fun run to promote fitness for children
- Driver of pickup truck dies following crash into New Kensington house
- First Amendment experts decry Plum authorities’ warning to students
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen unfazed by return to Arizona