With the end of the political conventions, the national campaign now moves into a phase where the three debates between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney should be far more revealing than the pep rallies just concluded.
Locally, there will be plenty to chew on, with a school bond measure in the Pajaro Valley, plus a Santa Cruz ballot measure on whether residents want a vote on a proposed water desalination plant. Four seats on the Santa Cruz City Council are up for grabs, along with a runoff election in the county Board of Supervisors 5th district. Capitola also has a city council election, but the council seats in Watsonville and Scotts Valley have already been decided for a want of candidates willing to run. A number of contested school board elections will also be decided.
Lastly, while Democrats are considered shoo-ins for most state legislative and Congressional races, we’ll be making recommendations in these as well.
Voters will also have to contend with a crowded statewide slate of 11 ballot measures with issues ranging from tax hikes (two competing measures), the death penalty, California’s tough three-strikes law, union dues for political campaigns, and genetically modified foods.
The Sentinel Editorial Board is in the midst of interviewing candidates for many of the contested seats to be decided by Nov. 6. We’ll begin our endorsements next week — our suggestions based on these interviews and what we additionally have learned about candidates, both from news coverage and their track records and experience.
We also welcome letters to the editor on election topics, including letters in support of candidates or ballot measures.
A few guidelines for election related letters (We say “letters” in full realization that the vast majority of correspondence is electronic):
Please keep them no longer than 150 words.
Do not engage in personal attacks on candidates; usually our requirement that a letter writer’s name and city or area of residence along with a phone number and email address takes care of most of the cheap shots.
And while we can’t completely fact check every letter, we do our best to ensure the letters are accurate.
Though your letter is certainly important and we value your input and correspondence, not every email or typed note (handwritten letters are difficult to decipher), not every letter or email is published, either digitally or in print.
Form letters — usually sent out at the behest of political organizations or advocacy groups — are rejected; however, if a group of friends or neighbors write similar letters on the same topics, but these letters are clearly not directed by more formal organizations, we’ll try and publish the most representative.
Sentinel reporters, photographers and correspondents are already filing on local elections. For coverage, you can click on our politics page for the latest on the presidential election, local election stories, and content from partners including MediaNews organizations, Pro Publica, The Atlantic, National Journal, and Democracy Live. We’ll also link out to blogs including the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog and many more.
Readers can also find our local coverage, endorsements and voter information broken down in more detail on our elections page, and we’ll carry live local and state results in November.
Our reporters will also be breaking elections news as they learn it, on Twitter, as usual.
Stay informed — and register to vote.