Editorial: A choice, not an echo

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:04pm

In the 1964 presidential race, this was an oft-repeated slogan that underscored that there was a clear choice between candidates Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. It was not simply a subtle difference of opinion. There was a real choice involved, with real consequences.

The choice facing Block Island voters this year feels like it has the same kind of watershed quality. The candidates for our council articulate some starkly different positions on critical issues.

The Times cosponsored a candidate forum with the Block Island Residents Association and has published interviews with all the candidates that sought to draw out their positions on key issues. This week’s second forum fell victim to Hurricane Sandy, which makes it all the more important to pay attention to what candidates have said so far.

This newspaper has never endorsed candidates, and that has not changed. On the other hand, we do recommend that voters take a hard look at the candidates and their positions before they cast a ballot. The results of this election will serve to define the island’s future.

There are key issues that our readers have expressed interest in:

1. How strenuously will the town contest the Champlin’s Marina issue?

2. Is Deepwater a done deal or are there battles still to be fought?

3. Regardless of the outcome of Deepwater, will the town pursue a land-based turbine for its energy needs, or other renewable energy programs?

4. Will new council members call for a change of personnel at Town Hall, especially in the crucial role of town manager?

5. Will the town seek to take over the medical center or leave it independent?

6. Will the town commit to a serious effort to reduce or eliminate the deer?

7. Are we doing enough to develop affordable housing or do we require new initiatives?

8. Is there a crisis in maintaining the town infrastructure and, if so, how do we fund improvements?

In a small community such as Block Island, voters will make choices based on personality. That is understandable, but we urge you to think hard about these issues, too. Rhode Island may not have much of a voice in the presidential election, but when it comes to local issues, Block Island’s tiny electorate has crucial decisions to make — decisions that will likely impact our day-to-day life here far more than most decisions made in the White House. Your vote really does make a difference. Don’t forget to go to the polls between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday.