The November 2006 election could put new majorities on both the Baker City Council and the Baker County Commission.

But the race will be all but decided eight months before voters even return their ballots Nov. 7.

That's because the deadline to file to run for either of those boards is March 7. After that you'd have to mount quite the write-in campaign to get elected.

So don't dillydally. Representative democracy means more than casting a ballot or two each year and grousing with your cronies over coffee.

It means rolling up your sleeves and putting your neck out there.

It means articulating a vision for how government can help or not hinder business and the individual.

It means volunteering to help steward our public assets and our tax dollars.

You get the picture.

Now, just because those two elected bodies could see new majorities doesn't mean they should. That's a topic for campaigns and public discussion about the performance of the incumbents and the potential offered by challengers.

But that discussion needs to happen, and it won't take place without candidates running for the two open county seats and the four open city seats.