Study the issues in Ocean View election

The rhetoric machine is in full effect right now in Ocean View, which means an election is nearing. April 9, to be exact.

We’d love to just pump the brakes on this right now, and commit ourselves to not being used by the candidates as a free public relations machine. We’d love to tell you that we’re going to put a tight lid on the letters regarding the election from residents, and weed out the press releases, opinion pieces and letters from the candidates that contain obvious political agendas. We’d love to do all that.

But we can’t. And here’s why:

There are some very genuine issues facing Ocean View these days, and the candidates have very different ways of dealing with these issues, particularly in regards to the town’s finances and police coverage. Mayor Gordon Wood has identified more than two dozen issues for the town council to consider regarding the town’s budget. Councilman Perry Mitchell has proposed his own budget ideas, as has mayoral candidate George Pickrell.

They each have their own ideas on the town’s spending, revenue sources and potential cuts down the line. They each talk about maintaining strong police coverage in the town, and keeping costs down. And they each talk openly about not wanting to have to raise taxes for citizens.

Who’s right? Who knows?

Our main responsibility in the coverage we provide our readers during an election season is to publish as much information as we can so our readers are as informed as possible when making their voting decision. We must maintain neutrality throughout this process, and work as the proverbial middle man between the town officials, new candidates and the citizens of Ocean View.

That’s it.

We can not filter out what these candidates are saying, because we run the risk of eliminating a comment or two that might strike home with a reader — either in a positive light or other. We don’t like being used, and we will never get used to the idea, but it’s our job to provide our readers every bit of information we can fit in the paper each week. And that is what we’ll do.

As has been our policy since this paper’s inception seven years ago, we will not endorse particular candidates for the election. It is our opinion that our responsibility is to inform, educate and entertain — not influence minds or gain favor. We will cover meetings, publish letters and run our Q&A piece with the candidates the week of the election. Every candidate, incumbent or challenger, gets equal voice.

It’s up to you to decide who wins.