It's early January, which means it's time for Republicans and Democrats in Jamestown to begin looking for City Council candidates.
Here's wishing them luck, because party officials are going to need it.
In the past two election cycles, only one City Council race has been contested. It would be easy to say this is a good time to decrease the number of City Council seats - but it really hasn't been that long since the council lost three members in 1994. The problem isn't the number of council seats; it's finding candidates.
The air will be filled with messages to vote in November, but what are we voting for if there are no candidates on the ballot? The representative form of democracy we espouse so beautifully in high school civics class is dependent on citizens participating in the process, providing a check on those in office to see how they're doing. The process is lost without challengers bringing their ideas and discussion into the public realm.
Elections are the time to air ideas about the future of Jamestown. The city needs good candidates from both parties providing options for the city's future and leading a discussion of the weighty issues Jamestown faces in the coming two years. A decision needs to be made on a possible merger or sharing of services between the Jamestown Police Department and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department. The city needs fresh ideas on economic development, the continued development of downtown as a place of commerce, finding funding to redevelop Jamestown's neighborhoods and finding ways to bring Jamestown's taxes under control.
It could be an interesting discussion if enough people participate.
The more the merrier - and the better for the community.