Was it too cold for politicians?

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Column by Jim Clark

By Jim Clark

With all the news this week, who knows where to start?

Obviously, the big story is the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Suffice to say, though, that the honeymoon will soon be over, and he’ll find himself facing the same problems and decisions as most of his predecessors. So we just have to sit back and see how it goes.

A group of local citizens arranged an outdoors inauguration-watching gathering on Tuesday. Several people showed up, but probably not as many as expected. The main reason was that the weather was very Washington, D.C.-like.

The big screen television was set up under a tent, but most people chose to sit outside the tent in the sunlight, increasing their slim changes of getting warm.

Noticeable by their absence were all government officials, city and county. I guess their cozy offices were too comfortable for them to come out for the noon ceremony. Maybe some stopped by later ... if they did, I apologize. But the big thing was the swearing-in at noon, and I know they weren’t there then.

The next item that struck me locally was the election qualifying in the city. There are three incumbents and one challenger, but the challenger is a former incumbent. That resulted in Debra Jones facing a challenge from Jerry Robinson, while Steve Holcomb and Marc Nussel were unopposed.

As usual, challengers were reluctant to step up. This is not a knock at the current council, but people deserve a choice. You never know when someone with a good idea will catch the fancy of voters.

So on March 3 Williston voters will go to the polls to vote in one race.

Just in case you have tried to forget about the Caylee Anthony case for a while, it’s back in the news. More than 300 pages of documents were scheduled to be released on Wednesday. I’m not sure who beside the defense is reading this stuff, but I guess some people want to see it.

Meanwhile, Casey Anthony is still in jail awaiting trial.

School budget cuts continue to be on everyone’s mind. The three-day furlough plan didn’t work because of the state retirement system, officials insist that middle school sports are not on the chopping block, despite persistent rumors to the contrary, and spring sports coaches are scrambling to get their schedules in order to cut some expenses.

The Florida High School Athletic Association didn’t help with its new districts. Williston, for instance, is in the same district as Mount Dora, Umatilla and The Villages, all down in Lake County, some quite a distance (ever been to Umatilla?). Sounds like some overnight camping trips to me.

There are other communities that are in just as bad a shape. Crescent City, in Putnam County south of Palatka, is in a district that stretches all the way to Fort Pierce. To top it off, the Raiders are the only public school in that district.

There will undoubtedly be a lot of changes in our lives as money stays tight. Anyone having second thoughts on their votes for Amendment 1 a couple of years ago?

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.