Careful what you wish for; you just may surely get it

By Mike Anthony

As this column is being written, Tuesday’s elections for municipal and school board races had yet to be decided.

However, in the weeks leading up to the elections, there’s been no shortage of rhetoric about what ails the cities of Crestwood and Sunset Hills or public education.

A lot of promises have been made by candidates seeking public office about how they’re going to fix this or fix that, pledging that a “new day” lies ahead for their city or school district.

Come Wednesday morning, the successful candidates are going to wake up after their victory celebrations and are going to have to start making good on their campaign promises — even if the pledges they made to voters exceed the scope of their authority as an elected official.

Boards collectively establish policy — not just one member or a mayor.

Don’t worry, the Call will be there to report to voters on just how well the successful candidates have kept their pledges — or if they’ve failed miserably to keep their promises.

And from what we’ve seen and heard so far, some candidates are so extremely thin skinned that we’re amazed they had the gumption to venture into the public arena. For those candidates, here’s a word of advice: You should learn to deal with criticism from the public and press, or your time as an elected official is going to be miserable.

Perhaps they should have heeded President Harry S. Truman’s words of wisdom: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

As we’ve written before, it’s extremely difficult for elected officials to keep their campaign promises.

On numerous occasions, we’ve seen municipal and school board candidates promise the moon to the voters and then fail to deliver. Instead of providing the reform they promised, said candidates became rubber stamps for the wishes of the administration or special-interest groups.

Or even worse, we’ve seen candidates who pledged not to make the mistakes their predecessors made, only to be elected and then make even more egregious missteps with lasting damage to the community.

Some of these same officials want the public to approve massive tax-rate increases, yet cannot pay their own taxes.

To Tuesday’s victors, we congratulate you. But as the adage goes: Be careful what you wish for, because you just may surely get it.