It is Nov. 9, and the hard-fought battles of the election are over.
Our gratitude is due to any and all who offered their names up for election and subject themselves to the rigor of the process and the public scrutiny that entails.
We claim to be a civilized democracy, but our elections can be vicious and hurtful.
The race for McPherson County Attorney was bitter. David Page, the incumbent, narrowly won the Republican primary over local attorney Brian Bina. Those who opposed Page, where so adamant he be removed from office, they mounted an aggressive write-in campaign. Bina, who did not actively campaign in the general election, received 3,937 votes — a monumental showing considering the circumstances.
Page won the election. He will continue as the McPherson County Attorney. However, both sides need to see this election as a call to action.
Although Bina lost the election, his campaign brought forth some important issues that need to be addressed.
1. Communication and relations between law enforcement and the county attorney's office need to improve. This must be a two-way street, and we hope now that the dust has cleared, all parties can sit down together and discuss ways that this can be accomplished.
2. The county attorney's office has a backlog of cases.
For all parties involved, especially the victims in these cases, this needs to be resolved. The county attorney's office needs to take responsibility for reducing the number of unfiled cases. Law enforcement needs to work to provide complete affidavits, which all parties hope will speed the process of filing formal charges.
3. The county attorney's office needs to communicate better with the public. Some concerns were raised during the race about plea bargaining. The public was concerned that charges were being amended or dropped in too many cases.
Every case is unique, and the reasons why charges might be dropped or amended are as unique as those cases.
When cases are ongoing, some information must be kept confidential. However, once a case is resolved, Page could be more forthcoming about his rationale behind his decisions, especially in major cases. The public needs to be better educated about how the legal system works.
Law enforcement, the public and the county attorney's office all need to work together to ensure law and order in our community.
Today, we must move beyond the ballot and find ways to work together for our community's greater good.
— Cristina Janney on behalf of the McPherson Sentinel Editorial Board.