Put down "Rental Registry Program" as cause for Oshkosh residents to actually become politically active. For the first time in several years, we will have not only contested City Council seats--but the need for a primary to reduce the field of candidates.
The decision by the Council this past year to establish the Rental Registry--and force the inspection of all rental units in the city every five years, along with charging a fee for that "service"--is no doubt the driving force behind this sudden surge in interest in public service. Landlords are looking at some hefty charges here and they are going to storm City Hall and repeal them.
Now I wonder what it will take to get people fired up about serving on the Oshkosh School Board again. That "call to action" may be coming this year, as a facilities study will likely recommend doing away with the district's long-standing--and incredibly expensive--commitment to "neighborhood schools". There is no doubt that the consultants will call for closing some of the oldest buildings and consolidating classes into either existing facilities that have space--or building new and bigger schools in more central locations.
And even if the School Board doesn't go along with those recommendations, it would still be nice to have members that will challenge the status quo. With apologies to Superintendent Stan Mack, a school board is not meant to be an "advocacy group" that engages in "groupthink". It is meant to be a public control body serving the will of the people--not administration.
And I don't know what will ever motivate more people to run for the Winnebago County Board. Again, the vast majority of the current supervisors will not face challengers this spring. Heck, most people (especially in the cities) could not even name their supervisor. Perhaps talk of a county sales tax would rustle up some interest in running for those seats. Or maybe, there just aren't enough crusty old farts around to fill 36-seats. (Which brings up another tribute project to the late Jeremy Monnett--reducing the County Board to 18--or maybe even 12-districts.)
I guess we will just have to be satisfied with seeing a small amount of political passion in one race this year--and try to build upon that for the spring of 2018.