In Lake County the hot election to watch this year is the District 3 Supervisor race. Hot is a relative term. In Lake County “hot” is luke warm anywhere else.
The reason local power scrambles are such snoozers is the lack of real time media events. These could be either hosted events or spectacles produced by the candidates themselves. We are lucky if we get an occasional recorded “talking heads” word salad.
Not only is the public bored by such orchestrated tedium, the candidates themselves can barely stand it, begging off appearances for the least excuse or no excuse at all. My own candidate video project focused on 5 local issues. I videotaped an editorial on each one then invited candidates to schedule a time for me to video their responses. The final product would be stitched together into one program. What could be easier for a candidate?… Advance topic notice. No time conflicts. Unedited video exposure. The result: Out of six candidates, three didn’t answer me. One said “catch me if you can.” An inspiring list of two participated.
Maybe to get active interest from the public and participation from candidates we need to focus on America’s highest value – entertainment. This means no more candidates sitting stiffly on stage while a host asks beauty pageant type questions off cards from the same group of gadflies and wanna be pundits.
How would I shake things up? We need some right brain thinking here. First on my list is a poetry slam where the candidates move and groove their qualifications and make the issues flow. This could be followed by a weekly videotaped “whistle stop” bike ride tour around the District. Someone who has let their body go to Hell would probably let the County go to Hell.
Tired of candidates who haven’t done their homework? How about a game show to test candidates’ nuts and bolts knowledge of government procedures and pressing issues. Winner gets an endorsement with a point total.
What we don’t need is another slate of obstructionists with tunnel vision. Make candidates reveal how three-dimensional they are with a talent show. Or show the public they really have nothing to hide with a clothing optional hot tub discussion at Harbin. For once, our future leaders can start out in hot water.
And for the dramatic two person races we can reasonably take the truly high road. Have speech forensics teachers select an important single local issue for a structured “Yale Debating Society” style debate to be scored by judges according to debate rules. Candidates should have at least a month to research and prepare.
But for this election I think the only thing that can be done is to parody the characters who imposed themselves on our ravaged attention spans.