With 76 expired political offices for ’17, watch the candidates

People seek elected office for various reasons.

You’ll see them in all their splendor this busy campaign year in Fulton County.

With 76 expired offices in the county in 2017, the public should be prepared for an army of clipboard-carrying candidates seeking signatures. Many equally obnoxious “Vote For Me” signs will litter the landscape, as usual this year.

You know the candidates already. Pay close attention to them at the chicken barbecues or the senior meetings you attend this summer.

There’s the power-grabbing know-it-all. He or she are keepers of the body politic, all-knowing and hard-charging, steely-eyed and ready with a quick answer for every heartburn issue ailing the poor slob voters. Incumbents stuck in neutral in office forever usually fit this bill.

There’s also the self-admitted dummy. These are the quiet candidates claiming no experience at any level of government. They appear awfully “aww shucks” humble, don’t they? But look out after they get elected They plan on reinventing the wheel that will eventually run over your basic rights.

Some candidates say they need more time to accomplish what they started. These are the “gimme another chance” candidates. But what if they didn’t do squat to begin with in their first term? Do they really deserve a second chance on your Common Council or Town Board?

Only you can make that decision and after a lifetime of reporting on these candidates — some very well-intentioned — I’ve reached a few conclusions.

People desiring political office mainly make up stuff on the fly. Candidates really don’t have any more of an answer on how to cure local problems than you do, their neighbor, or say the Dalai Lama. In fact, you would be surprised how much they really don’t know about the issues.

Pressed on the issues, they will toss out tired catch phases like “We need more consolidation!” and let’s bring “high-tech jobs to the area to reduce the tax burden” and “we need to help those on a fixed-income.” Sounds very intelligent. But try pressing them further on how they plan to do this, and there’s not much depth.

Lame responses like “It’s New York state’s fault,” or “We need more bang for the buck” or “The taxpayers don’t quite understand” are tossed around like confetti.

I have had many wonderful experiences getting to know hard working and well-meaning office holders over the years. They have run the gamut from Sen. Hugh Farley to some of our finest county, city and town representatives.

I have seen drunken candidates on election night, who interestingly make perfect sense.

But in an age of media glut, social media, telecommunication, blogs and columns, our brain synapses can only take so much BS/crap masquerading as political cures.

We need candidates and politicians who will roll up their sleeves, forget the cliches and promise to do everything they can to lift this area out of the quagmire and doldrums its been in for way too long.

Republicans or Democrats, it doesn’t matter.

Tell them you demand more than just a catchy slogan and a pen to write down your signature.

∫ The Fulton County Board of Supervisors is gearing up for another year under the leadership of county Administrative Officer Jon Stead. I’ve known Stead since the early 1990s. Like him or dislike him, he always has a polite tone and an intelligent, thought-out response to questions from county residents. We will learn more when Stead presents his annual “State of the County” address at 8 a.m. Friday at the Hales Mills Country Club on Steele Road.

∫ Even though it didn’t make the Top 10 news stories of 2016, one of the main issues still impacting this area every day is heroin and opioid use and abuse. We hear it loud and clear on our scanner every day in the newsroom. It sickens me that drug abusers are throwing their lives away, but these are human beings crying out aren’t they?.

Let’s hope a meaningful effort is made in 2017 to stem this illegal drug scourge that impacts Fulton County and the rest of America.

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