Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Election Night

The polls have closed. I keep expecting a phone call to tell me how much I lost by or, more frighteningly, that I won.

I am not a politician. My opponent definitely is. I always wish when I see someone with good people skills that they would use their powers for good. And who's to say that once he's finished shepherding his own pet development project through the permitting process that he won't turn around and be the very model of environmental concern.

I admire his smoothness, his affability. I'm more the power-behind-the-throne type, the shadowy advisor, the research geek, the mechanic who figures out how things work. Those are the qualities that will help in the routine crank-turning of the planning board. But it's an elected position.

In my limited experience so far, state statutes seem a lot like what the bike industry dumps on us every year. A lot of it seems needlessly complex and all of it arrives with only the vaguest instructions how to operate and fix it. So, year after year, I have to figure out what has changed, how it has changed and what might accidentally have been left alone.

Towns are left to decide for themselves how to interpret the outline of municipal functioning. Want to allow cheek-by-jowl McMansions? It's your call. Invite every scabby retail giant from here to China? You have to live there.

You can ignore this if you like. The problem is that democracies don't run themselves. Leave it to the people who desperately want to be in charge and you deserve what you get.

I would be good precisely because I don't want the job.

Well, if I didn't make it there's always next year.

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