Both the school board and city council races are around the corner in Iowa City and the surrounding communities and so far there are a very limited number of brave souls stepping up to run for the offices.
On deck for the next Iowa City city council is the hiring of a "permanent" city manager, looking at revenue projections and solutions to shore up a sagging tax base, and the usual issues that face the city council every year (re: crime, college students in the bars, etc.). No to mention the continued need for affordable rental housing and the needs for the poorer cousins in the community. So far Mark McCallum, Susan Mimms, and Terry Dickens have announced they will run for office. More on this can be found on John Deeth's blog.
As for the school board, there is the boundary issue where the existing and future schools are concerned, as well as the transparency issue of how business is conducted at ICCSD. Finally, there is the staffing issues for the coming school years in light of decreasing revenue at the state level. With possibly all three of the incumbent board directors opting not to run for re-election, there is a real need for candidates to step up.
In these stressful times, it may be difficult to attract civic-minded individuals to fill these elected slots, just as it is hard to find volunteers for non-elected commissions. Let's face it, the grief that a person has to be willing to deal with is significant, as well as the commitment of time-- and yet, it is crucial that fair-minded people do the work. If we end up with ineffective persons to govern, it is largely the fault of the attentive public for not putting themselves in the game.