I’m not sure the candidates would agree there’s any connection, but it seems that more people have been running for local office up in my area since the real estate bubble burst back in 2007. Times are harder. People who probably would not have been willing to take the relatively small salaries offered by local government jobs may be more willing now to consider that option. I say “relatively small” when compared to the salaries that many retirees and vacationers here receive or received in the Bay Area. For locals, who have lived for decades in the bombed out shell of a former timber economy, the $45,000 a year that a county supervisor makes probably looks pretty good.
And of course there are exception to the paltry salary rule. Judges here make $181,000 a year. And, though it may also be because of some recent turnover making the seats more open than they have been, it is true that we have seven candidates for the two seats. And it’s been 18 years since any judicial seat here in Calaveras was contested.
So I guess we should be hopeful that the harder times will inspire leaders to come forth, run for office, and help us confront our problems.