Local elections worth following

Somehow, we’ve finally arrived at the last “official” weekend of summer.

When we turn out the lights Monday night, we’ll awaken Tuesday to the first day of school, or early thoughts about winterizing or elections.

Notice the absence of the ‘p’ word — politics.

During the past few years, politics has become more divisive than ever, and I hope that divisiveness stays far from the friendly confines of our Historic Triangle. But, of course, that’s up to us.

Because we do have some local elections to look forward to this fall, on Nov. 7 to be precise.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in play:

In addition to statewide contests to choose a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, we’ll also choose representatives for the general assembly. For us, that means the 93rd and 96th districts.

Two seats are up on the Williamsburg-James City County School Board — only one is contested — and two seats are up for grabs on the James City County Board of Supervisors.

There is plenty going on and we’ll do our best to shine a light on all of the candidates, their backgrounds, goals and what they hope to accomplish if elected. We’ll also look at candidate’s fundraising.

As we usually do, we’ll invite the candidates in for endorsement interviews and we’ll share those on these pages. We’ll also cover any candidate forums the League of Women Voters holds.

But we also want to hear from you — your concerns, your endorsements.

You are welcome to write an original, signed letter to the editor supporting your candidate or talking about the election. If you choose to write opposing someone or something, please keep your comments factual and civil.

Letters must be submitted with your name, street address and phone number, although we’ll only publish your name and locality. Letters can be no longer than 250 words — and, in the interest of fairness, that’s a length we’ll enforce. Please send them to letters@vagazette.com or send them to Letters to the Editor, 216 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

In keeping with past practice, we will not run commentary columns about candidates.

We also do not run anonymous endorsements or criticisms of local candidates, so Last Word will not accept local election comments.

We will make every effort to publish all letters to the editor on candidates. We’ll publish letters up until Nov. 1 so they should be in-hand here no later than Oct. 30.

Local elections may not be as big and dramatic as national contests — they’re not about foreign policy and overhauling the federal tax code.

But local elections affect all of us, every day. They affect property taxes, where our children go to school, when the streets get paved, how much tax you pay on your dinner out. That’s worthy of paying attention.

Welcome back

We ran an item in the paper a week or so ago about a meeting Williamsburg is holding to gather community thoughts and ideas on planned improvements along Monticello Avenue — the road and streetscape. The improvements will be done in conjunction with the Monticello Shopping Center redevelopment in the next few years.

The city is seeking public input on things such as lighting, landscaping, how best to accommodate bicycles and vehicular traffic.

This time, the city has its priorities straight: get input and feedback before you decide exactly what you want to do. This is the transparent government of Williamsburg we expect and respect.

The public meeting is 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St. Sounds like a meeting worth going to.

Bellows is editor of The Virginia Gazette. Reach her at pbellows@vagazette.com or by phone at 345-2347.

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