Tag Archives: Voting

Courage at Twilight: Wheelchair Halloween

Our ballots came this week, in yellow envelopes.  Mom spread the campaign mailings over the kitchen table.  “Should we do our ballots?” she suggested.  “Do you know anything about this candidate?” Dad asked 14 times.  I certainly knew one incumbent senator and one judge I would not be voting for, and told them why.  “I like this one,” Mom offered as we filled in our circles with blue ink.  “I’ve never voted by committee,” I observed.  It felt unorthodox, but not unnatural.  Why not talk about the candidates and their positions and records and agree amongst ourselves who we think are the better candidates?  Mom took the sealed ballots to Help-U-Mail for delivery—though she likes our mail carrier, she does not trust the mailbox because of how easily mail can be stolen.  The calzone dough is rising, waiting to be rolled and filled and crimped for baking on the very hot pizza stone.    Pepperoni.  Mushrooms.   Sauce.  This year on Halloween, Dad is sitting by the front door in his power wheelchair, a book in his hands, a bowl of candy on the card table—Mom bought four enormous bags of candy bar minis—waiting hopefully for the doorbell to ring.  His first customer was a cheerful young woman with a toddler in one arm and a baby in a car seat in the other.  She smiled and said “thank you” and I thought how quickly tired she is going to be, but more importantly how she was out with her children making a fun memory of the national candy-grab.  Dad is surprisingly nimble and dexterous with his wheelchair—joy stick precision.  Cecelia came this morning, as she does every morning, at 9:30 a.m.  Dad awakes in his hospital bed earlier, but his day starts when Cecelia comes at 9:30, to help him up the stairs lifting a gate belt, to help him shower and shave and dry off and dress, to help him come back down the stairs, pulling back on the gate belt, for his breakfast, and to coach him through his daily therapy with colored elastic bands.  He talks and talks, about the sports section and his childhood and his aches and pains and the subtle changes in how his body feels and about Mexico and her family and his family, and he tells the old stories, and she listens with “mmm-hmmn”s and knowing nods.  Perhaps the best two hours of his day.  “Ding dong!”  “Trick or treat?!”  Dad will have to eat his calzone from his post of vigilance at the front door.

Courage at Twilight: Municipal Elections

This November 2 was my first opportunity to vote in a Sandy City election, for Mayor (eight candidates) and one City Councilperson (six candidates). Mom and I each studied the voter information pamphlet and candidate election ads.  You can tell a lot about candidates from how they describe themselves.  Like this educated experienced professional who bills himself as “pro-liberty, anti-tyranny, anti-socialism, anti-BLM, patriot.”  Or a current Councilperson who serves on no less than nine community boards and councils.  I was impressed by two incumbent Councilwomen, one who received both the Volunteer of the Year and Elected Official of the Year awards, and another who advocates for organizational partnerships and watershed protection.  And this year I get to vote for every single candidate—all 14!—due to the ranked choice voting experiment in which I vote for each candidate in priority order, one to eight for Mayor, and one to six for Council.  Being so new to the city, I do not know a single candidate and could only rely on their perspectives of themselves.  I voted for two women, one seeking a third four-year term who has business and city planning experience, and one with business and finance degrees and experience who regularly attends public meetings, trainings, and focus groups.  But who’s to know who the best candidates are.  Personally, I have worked for five Mayors and 28 City Councilmembers in my 28-year municipal government career.  Each is different, and being required to work together six at a time for four years each tends to knock off the rough edges and lead to slow positive improvement in the community—that is the hope.  One maverick can either endanger or uplift a community, but the peaks and troughs of year-to-year politics even out over the decades into a long and steady incline in the quality of life.  That is the hope.  Mom and Dad and I will see who wins and whether we notice any difference in city policy and management.  At least Sandy has an excellent City Attorney, Lynn, who I have known for nearly three decades.

(Image by Jackie Ramirez from Pixabay)