this isn't the exact same kind of public politics you are referring to, but here goes:...
I dunno, Penn... It looks like you would be happier not involving yourslef in local politics. I keep my own head down.
some number of years ago, Burnet, Texas high school football team went to state. We broke a kids neck on the other team, and he was paralyzed (a quad) for life. A big fund raising drive was started, of which perhaps 150,000 dollars were raised for the kid. At the same time, a poor spanish lady who is a friend of my wife was going to pick up her husband at the local cement plant. A car rear ended her on the local state highway and pushed her into oncoming traffic where she was hit head on by a driver at 70 mph. Her two children (at the time 6 and eight) were put into comas. I printed a letter on my computer and went around town putting it on everyones door in an attempt to raise money to help them. Out of five thousand people, we got twenty dollars. Even then I worked in the produce department of our local grocery store, and I overheard two women arguing which could raise more money for the football guy. I was absolutely livid.
epilogue: Katies kids came out of the coma and she eventually used the insurance money to buy their land they were renting and poured it into the family. The football never regained any use of any of his facilities. And I was in a coma ten years ago, and the town raised an incredible amount of money, several times, for my wife. So I have never come to grips with this, except to think that life sure is fickle. And politics suck.