During my extensive monitoring of the 2011 campaign, I encountered residents who:
- can't name the city manager
- don't recognize the name David Gillam
- never attend or watch CITCOM meetings and don't know when it meets
- have heard the name Jim Rasor but don't know who he is
- have no idea what the DDA is . . . or what the Planning Department does
- don't know, or care, that City Hall is operating on reduced hours
- had no idea what the hot topic was at the latest CITCOM meeting
- can't name more than three commissioners and the mayor
- boast that they no longer "bother" reading newspapers, but may get their news online
So, at candidates forums, including the one which Patch.com arranged and I moderated, the submitted questions, from other than single-issue voters or those that take pot-shots at an individual, are bland and become repetitive and the answers become boring, but such forums do provide hints about the competence and characteristics of the candidates. Readers who are coming late to the party may want to sample the Patch and LWV forums:
To skim 3 months of Versagi Voice election coverage:
When you think about it, though, week-after-week on a 16-item CITCOM agenda, all of the items deal either with procedural/housekeeping issues or with matters affecting a handful of residents or a single business or a business group, like the retailers or restaurants.
Looked at that way, most CITCOM meetings matter only to those several hundred Royal Oakers who qualify as city hall observers, some of whom are praised or criticized as being watchdogs.
Does that explain the low turnout for local elections?