Come back Mike, all is forgiven
Just when you thought it had hit rock bottom, the Rock Island County sheriff race has, amazingly enough, continued to devolve further into farce.
The latest, revealed a couple days ago, was candidate Mike Huff filing some sort of grievance with the county ethics panel about his opponent Kraig Schwigen's supposed use of county computers to do some sort of research which Huff maintains was for campaign purposes. The complaint was dismissed, with Huff threatening to continue to pursue it and file again.
Somewhere and somehow in all of this came the statement that Schwigen's wife was in fear of Huff due to the fact that he'd whipped out his gun and pointed it at fellow officers sometime in the past, thus leading to an inference that serves as a milestone in just how far out into the ozone this contest has spun, namely, that one candidate's wife supposedly fears that the other candidate might shoot her.
The race is clearly more the public playing out of some bitter private conflicts with little or nothing to do with improving the Sheriff's department nor about who would do the better job. That seems to be an afterthought.
It's truly like two guys showed up for a debate and instead started wrestling in the mud like a couple 8th graders. All the public can do is stand back and watch in disgust and disappointment.
I'd feel much safer if both candidates and especially those who have contributed their whacky and vicious bile in blog comments would seek employment in some other jurisdiction.
I suggested this situation cried out for a "none of the above" catagory in a comment (posted as "Ick") on The Passing Parade, and subsequently, John Beydler wrote a piece on the idea complete with examples from other jurisdictions which actually offer that option.
As a matter of fact, I think the ugly comments filling up his stories about the sheriff's race and the truly dismal choice of candidates voters face this time around has prompted Beydler to look into the Green party in search an alternative option. Can't say I can blame him.
And after that, the D/A echoed the suggestion in an editorial.
Boy, did Mike Grchan ever take some beatings from commenters here during the primary.
But right now, faced with the prospect of one or the other of these candidates wearing the big badge, I think most people would be more than pleased if they could have Grchan back.
Beyond that race, voters are faced with:
- An installed product of nepotism, another mundane business as usual machine candidate that's so set up, connected, massively funded, and locked in that he's nearly untouchable and is protected from ever facing any real competition in either primary or general in the foreseeable future or as long as his family and alies can control things.
- A Dem party who reached out about exactly 1/8 inch to find a less than inspiring candidate, and his opponent a vapid talking head front person who is an empty vessel into which is poured conflicting and incongruous positions which she, ironically due to her media background, has difficulty getting across. She's found herself on the wrong side of political history in the past, this time's no different.
- Massively funded campaigns in the 71st with a lot of the challenger's dough going towards an unprecedented full-out negative smear campaign against Mike Boland to the point where it not only sours people on Boland, but splatters back on Haring, a guy who'd like nothing more than if voters would ignore his positions and the fact that he'd be a rubber stamp for the failed Bush agenda and whose views are not shared by a majority of district voters.
- No contest in the 72nd. Ho Hum. Do we even have a congressman there? Haven't heard much.
Add to that mix a Governor who's shaky at best facing a shaky opponent and voters can't be blamed for firmly holding their noses when they vote, that is IF they vote at all. It's factors like those above that leads to increasing voter apathy at a moment when voter participation is most critical for anything to change.
This is why discussions of third parties pop up more and more as well.
It's hard not to look at the slate facing voters this time around and have a wistful feeling that we surely could do, almost have to do better.
At least one loyal reader has taken me to task for not writing more often about local politics. The reason is all of the above. It's simply boring in it's negativity and ugliness. Who needs it?
So for the most part, I'll let the local swine wallow in the muck and wait for something less than depressingly predictable to happen. Until then it's just an ugly game.
Until the election, there's really not much more to say.