Our vote is thumbs UP to any Erie County high school senior who wants to take a turn working the polls starting with the March primaries. Erie County's Board of Elections is taking advantage of an initiative by new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to allow such students to work polls on election days -- both to expose kids to the nuts and bolts of democracy and to bolster cadre of poll workers thinned by aging and the cold-weather flight south. Call it an educational field trip that provides a needed service to the exercise of democracy.
But thumbs DOWN, along with the turnout, to another lesson the teens will learn at the polls: That "we the people" just don't give a damn about our democracy. If past turnouts are any indicator, it doesn't matter how hot the issues are -- when it comes time to put our ballots where our mouths are, we clam up. It got to the point where a turnout approaching 50 percent was something to brag about, and that's nothing to brag about. Hope you learn something anyway, kids.
Thumbs UP to the Haags, Ruth and Bob, who want to do their bit to brighten up the view of downtown Sandusky and, maybe, encourage preservation of the rambling, crumbling old pile of the Keller Building. The vented wood panels have a practical purpose: To secure the windows of the former factory and, it's hoped, prevent any further damage from vandalism. But the panels will prettify the building, with scenes painted by various people as part of a community project. Carl Wolf, general manager of Battery Park Marina, has already painted two panels. OK, so it's not major development, but the Haags mean well and all the small ways of caring add up, too.
But thumbs DOWN to anyone who thinks this ought to be the city's philosophy on things. It's a stopgap until the city can decide what to do with the building, but too often in the past putting up window decoration while things crumble around us has been the Way Things Are Done. Thankfully, there are plenty of signs this has changed.