You may see campaign signs for the March election in front of our office.
They were approved by our landlord, not by us.
We are doing our best to stay away from the toxicity of certain Facebook pages — unless we feel a need to correct a lie concerning our business.
We haven’t spoken to one of our original business partners since he filed to run for office. We’ve built a wall between our journalism and his candidacy.
None of this has been difficult to do. It’s who we are. Our readers know that.
Still … in all of our 11 years of publishing, I’ve never wanted so badly to do candidate recommendations.
But we don’t, we won’t and, in fact, we can’t afford to.
The economics are simple: We’ve never had enough staff to sit down with every candidate and ask questions that ferret out his or her platform and purpose for running for office. That takes time and resources far beyond our small-newspaper capabilities.
And this year, as we struggle with the economic fallout of a global pandemic, we find we can no longer afford to give free space to letters drafted by candidates or by anyone endorsing — or criticizing — a candidate for office.
Every inch of newsprint we use must be supported by paid advertising. That’s how we are able to keep our distribution free and focused on the readers in our small communities. It’s a business model our advertisers embrace, since we deliver their messages directly into the hands of a highly desirable audience.
We have continued our practice of running candidate profiles for all contested races. We ask each candidate the same questions and hope the side-by-side comparison of their answers is helpful.
But with the fog of politics so thick and nasty this year, I fear voters in our municipalities may get lost and lose confidence in local government — with unintended consequences as a harsh result. A simple majority vote, after all, can decide the character and well-being of our coastal communities.
So, in lieu of recommendations from your trusted local newspaper, you will all need to educate yourselves on the candidates.
It may feel unsavory to step into the miasma of politics in 2021, but be bold. Ask your candidates about their motivations for seeking office, research who supports them (and why), learn what you can about their backgrounds. And, importantly, do your best to sort the truth from the lies and hyperbole.
In other words, know your candidates. And vote.
— Mary Kate Leming, Editor