Democracy fails without any election challenges

Burke Wasson

Burke Wasson

By BURKE WASSON

Everyone complains about government. But now is the time to actually do something about it.

Filing opened this week for most municipal and school-board seats in south county and for one seat on the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

And on Tuesday, filing begins for four aldermanic seats in Crestwood.

Judging from recent events in south county, there’s no good reason any race should have just one candidate. Democracy fails if there are no challenges. So please. Challenge away.

In Green Park, two-year aldermanic seats held by Bob Reinagel, Chuck Deters and Mark Hayden are up for election. So is the two-year seat for Mayor Steve Armstrong. Between the debates over Green Park Road’s redevelopment and whether the city should use some of its $3 million reserve to fund services like free trash pickup, the city needs some strong ideas and the leadership to carry them out.

Four Sunset Hills aldermanic seats held by Michael Sawicki, John Littlefield, Jan Hoffmann and Donald Parker are up for grabs. Hoffmann has already told us she will run for re-election. We hope that she or any other candidate will finally solve the riddle of revitalizing the Sunset Manor subdivision — and now rather than later.

In Crestwood, aldermanic seats held by Richard Breeding, Jim Kelleher, Jerry Miguel and Pat Duwe are up for election. Breeding and Duwe can’t run because of term limits. While fiscal responsibility has been the city’s recent mantra, we hope candidates also have the vision to enhance the city’s future without overtaxing residents.

The Lindbergh School District is proud of last month’s passage of the $32 million bond issue Prop R. But the building improvements from those funds need responsible eyes, and the two seats up for election should have the oversight that Robert Bader and Vic Lenz have provided.

Mehlville School District seats held by Rita Diekemper and Tom Correnti are up for grabs. District voters made the right choice in April by electing Tom Diehl and Micheal Ocello. We hope two more candidates of their ilk will continue to improve the district’s once-tenuous community relations.

The six-year seat held by Dan Ottoline Sr. on the Mehlville Fire Protection District expires. We hope voters will elect a new member to continue the reforms that Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman have enacted.

Anyone wanting to file for the April 3 election has until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, to do it. For the good of your community, please do.