Opinion

Summer is over, it's time to get serious | EDITOR'S NOTE

Wow, where did the summer go?

I admit I had noticed that it seemed to be darker a little earlier, but Labor Day Weekend sure snuck up on me this year.

The summer went by in a blur of sunshine and warmth and then all of a sudden clouds, rain, colder nights and school buses again tracing their way around the neighborhood.

It seems like every year I don’t get done all the things I hope to during the all-too-short summer months. And I certainly miss the days of youth when summer meant no school and long afternoons of bike rides, baseball with friends and waiting in line for 10-cent Jolly Rancher candies (the long flat ones that would sharpen themselves into blades as you ate them) and Slush Puppies at the snackbar at the Highland Park pool back home in Upstate New York.

However, even back then I am sure back-to-school snuck up on me.

But this summer just flew by. It seems like just yesterday I was at Coulon Park for the Fourth of July and it can’t be more than a week since I stood in the rain at Veterans Memorial Park honoring those we’d lost, on the three-day weekend that kicks off the summer season.

Shoot, I just saw “Iron Man 3” and that was the first major blockbuster released this summer! I still haven’t gotten to “Man of Steel.” I just thought I had more time!

Like most people, I love the summer. I love the way it’s taken less seriously than other colder seasons and how people seem less focused on “important matters” while the sun shines and the kids are out of school. Vacations, barbecues, gatherings and late nights tend to drive us away from hard news each year at this time.

It’s why the news during summer months sometimes gets a little weird. Summer usually sits outside the rest of the year in its own news bubble as well and we tend to get hung up on things like sharks or royal babies or “twerking” and treat that as actual news.

Now that fall is officially, if not technically here, people tend to settle back in to their daily routines and start to pay attention again.

It’s why electoral campaigns usually wait until after Labor Day to really get rolling. There’s no point in doing any major campaigning while folks are distracted by vacations and sunshine.

That’s not to say news doesn’t happen during the summer or that candidates aren’t out there trying to meet people, especially if they are part of a primary battle to make it to November.

One of the things I did this summer was attend my neighborhood picnic. I also went to the city-wide National Night Out celebration and several downtown events and gatherings.

At each one, I saw several of the Renton City Council candidates out meeting voters or handing out stickers, balloons or signs. I love watching that part of the process. It’s fun to see how each candidate handles an event like that and it gives a good sense of the candidate’s personality, often just as important as where they stand on any given issue.

Some hang back, some work the room. Some spend a lot of time with a handful of voters, some try to meet as many people as possible and get their names heard.

This year, Renton has three council seats up for election, though only two are being contested (Council President Randy Corman is running unopposed).

In one race, incumbent Terri Briere is being challenged by local activist Beth Asher, one of the leaders and primary voices in the group Save the Cedar River Library … Again! that fought last year to keep the library over the river and this year to maintain its size and mid-span entrance.

The other race is for a relatively rare open seat on the council, as Rich Zwicker opted not to run for re-election this year. That race pits local businessman Armondo Pavone against activist Stuart Avery.

Pavone is best known as a co-owner of Melrose Grill while Avery was instrumental in last year’s push to get a library location vote on the ballot, though this year he has disassociated himself from the group during their appeal of the library site plan and door location.

Because there were no primary battles this year in the city, we at the Reporter opted to wait until the fall to begin our coverage of this year’s election.

However, with fall here, it is time to start our coverage.

Unlike years past, the Reporter will not be endorsing candidates prior to the November election. While the newspaper endorsement is a traditional role for an editorial board to play, our staff is quite small and because we will be covering the election and the council next year, it is best if we do not wade into that process.

Our role is not to decide for whom you should vote. Our role will be to simply provide the best information we can about every candidate and their ideas about government and the issues facing the city, which will allow you to make the best choice you can when you cast your ballot.

That said, we want to hear to from you regarding the issues you believe are the most important when making your decision.

What issue do you believe matters most this election season? What do you want to know about the candidates as you choose which of them will represent you on the council? Are there any “deal-breakers” that would immediately send you to another candidate? Do endorsements matter?

Email your concerns and question to me at bbeckley@rentonreporter.com or let us know at facebook.com/rentonreporter. We will review any and all questions that come in and factor them into our coverage in the next few weeks.

Until then, if you need me, I will be trying to get in some last-minute grilling in the backyard and ignoring the growing chill in the air...

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