OTHER OPINION: Deadline looms for municipal elections

By Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport

There will be quite a number of new faces at city halls from Bay St. Louis to Moss Point this summer because many incumbents have chosen not to seek re-election in this year’s municipal election on June 4.
Candidates have until Friday to make their intentions known. (Except in Waveland, where the city charter calls for elections in 2014.)
As for voters, they have until April 6 to register to vote in the May 7 party primaries.
Sun Herald political editor Michael Newsom reports how the races are shaping up on today’s front page.
The contests are as varied as the cities themselves. Gulfport, for instance, is in the unusual position of not having an incumbent mayor seek re-election for the second election in a row. But in Biloxi, Mayor A.J. Holloway, now serving an unprecedented fifth term, is seeking a sixth.
In D’Iberville, unless Democrats or independents come forward this week, all city offices will be filled in the Republican Primary.
In Diamondhead, residents of the newly incorporated city will be going to the polls for the first time to install city officials by ballot.
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill coined the phrase “all politics is local,” and city hall is about as local as you can get. It is the level of government closest to constituents, which makes it exceptionally personal at times.
We commend those willing to step into the spotlight to seek these offices.
For those in the running or considering it, a 50-page Municipal Election Handbook is available from the Secretary of State’s office at sos.ms.gov/links/elections/2013/2013MunicipalElectionHandbook.pdf.
Its sections include: Who is in Charge?, Qualifying Procedures, Campaign Finance Disclosure, Inside the Polling Place, and Security and Accounting for Ballots.
It’s a good place to start if you’d rather run city hall than fight it.