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Election time an opportunity to hold officials accountable

"Call the Tune," by Mike Anthony

We expect those involved in government — cities, school districts and fire protection districts — to be good stewards of our tax dollars.

While it's sometimes hard to hold appointed officials — such as city administrators and school administrators — accountable for their actions, the public always has the opportunity to hold elected officials accountable when it comes time for re-election.

Filing for next April's school board and municipal elections began last month and will continue until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20.

A variety of posts are up for election this year, including two seats each on the Lindbergh and Mehlville boards of education, and aldermanic seats in the cities of Crestwood, Green Park and Sunset Hills. Also up for election are the mayoral seat and the collector's post in Sunset Hills.

As we've already reported, many incumbents have filed for re-election, but there also are some new faces this year.

Many residents may be very satisfied with the performance of their elected officials and want to see those incumbents who have filed re-elected. But for those who are dissatisfied with their elected officials, now is the time to do something about it.

We hope incumbents whose seats are up for election this year don't misconstrue our purpose in urging others to run for office.

Our motive is simple: Democracy requires participation to be successful. Besides voting, our democratic process demands that we have good candidates who offer clear choices to the electorate.

In recent years, however, south county residents sometimes have not been able to make any real choices at election time as incumbents have run unopposed or new candidates have been elected without opposition.

As we've seen firsthand, that just doesn't make for good government and ultimately it will cost taxpayers plenty.

We urge the public to carefully scrutinize incumbents seeking re-election and see if, indeed, they actually did what they promised they would do when they first sought public office. It's amazing how many times elected officials fail to do — or even attempt to do — what they said they would.

While we don't always agree with elected officials, we applaud them for their public service.

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