Indiana, PA - Indiana County

CARL KOLOGIE: Be sure to vote Tuesday

by on May 19, 2013 4:49 AM

It wasn’t that long ago when a conversation this time of year would turn to politics, and the question would come up, “Who are you voting for on Tuesday?” And the answer many times was, “I’m not voting.

"There isn’t anybody to vote for.”

Have you seen the ballot for Tuesday’s primary election?

In fact, on Friday evening I beat a path to May Mart at the S&T Arena for their trademark mushroom sandwiches and strawberry pie.

As usual, they were delicious.

While I was there, one of the vendors, former state Rep. Paul Wass, was cooking up funnel cakes from his trailer parked outside of the building.

He commented about the number of individuals listed on the primary ballot this year.

If you recall, The May 8 edition of the Gazette carried a two-page spread listing the candidates from both parties who will be seeking election.

Sure, there are many running unopposed, but many of the decision-making positions — borough council members, township supervisors and school board posts, especially — are up for grabs. This creates a healthy political atmosphere that has been lacking in recent years.

Apparently, a renewed interest in local government has led to more candidates for these positions.

And that is encouraging as it is common knowledge that good government starts at home.

A couple of the local races are particularly interesting and have been foremost in discussions when the subject turns to the primary.

There is clearly a battle waging between two factions for seats on the Indiana Area school board.

A group of former educators and a local attorney have banded together in one corner, while independents from the community have joined forces against them.

This has become evident in the cash they have expended for advertising and mailings, along with the many letters to the editor pointing out the pros and cons of both groups.

There are five seats up for grabs and they are all running at large, so Tuesday’s election is very important for these candidates.

The other position that is attracting local attention is White Township tax collector.

With the retirement of longtime incumbent Melvin O’Keefe, there are 12 candidates seeking this lucrative position that could pay more than $80,000 annually.

In June 2015 the change-of-assessment notices will be mailed out, and the new property values will be enforced in January 2016.

This could have a major impact on the tax collector’s income, and it could soar easily into six figures.

Throughout the county there are many key positions up for grabs in Tuesday’s primary.

So rather than avoiding the polls and then commenting about the outcome, make it a point to be involved.

Tuesday sets the stage for November’s election.

Polls are open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

As the politicos say, “Every vote counts, and you can make a difference.”

o o o

That traffic congestion of the last week will be a thing of the past, beginning Monday.

Last week students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania were clearing out apartments and going home, graduation was Saturday, there were proms on Friday evening, the Boy Scouts were camping out at the fairgrounds, and the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame Induction, with more than 300 tickets already sold, is being held this evening at the Rustic Lodge.

Now that is a busy weekend.

Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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