Thirty people are running for the five open spots on Knoxville's City Council.
City elections begin with the Sept. 25 primaries and end in the Nov. 6 general election.
The five contested seats - plus the remaining four and the mayor in the 2003 election - will be filled by someone other than the incumbents, thanks to term limits.
Who cares?
You should, if you're studying and living in Knoxville for the next few years - or maybe even longer as will be the case with more of us than we'd like to admit.
Local government may be a bit of a snooze to almost all 26,000 students roaming about our campus, but recent activities have done quite a bit to shake things up:
o A recall movement is in the works to remove some council members and Mayor Victor Ashe from office, which has culled - or at least should cull - some interest in local politics and activism.
o Knoxville is in desperate need of revitalization, especially downtown, and ideas and proposals are being considered to try to make Knoxville fun and worth calling home.
o 1996 voter-approved term limits are now in effect, which will keep fresh faces and - we hope - fresh ideas in the City/County Building, instead of six or seven-term mainstays. This should help keep more Knoxville voters interested in what's going on.
It's pretty simple, if you've got a gripe with our blessed metropolis, do something about it. Register to vote here. Learn about how local government works - or even doesn't work sometimes. Support candidates.
Sometimes it seems that the only direction Knoxville can go is up, and if we get involved, we can say we were on the ground floor of the rebuilding. While it may seem that our local officials aren't competent and don't do anything, the only way to "fix" t
hat problem is to get involved.
So, get involved.
In the last municipal elections, only 5 percent of Knoxville's registered voters aged 18-29 cast ballots.
We can do better. We ought to do better.