Depending on whom you ask, the people of Muscatine are either bitterly divided over the mayor-council controversy, or they're simply sick of it.
So far, 11 candidates are in the race for three council seats and the mayor's post in the town 30 miles southwest of the Quad-Cities.
Some of the challengers say they are in it to help the council find common ground. Others are digging in their heels.
The City Council technically is not partisan; council members do not declare party affiliation.
But it is clear to an outsider that politics in Muscatine are as partisan as they are anywhere else. The move by councilmen to impeach Mayor Diana Broderson has made a microcosm of Muscatine. The division there reflects the division of the nation. It has produced anger, ugliness, finger-pointing and pettiness.
In other words, it is not their proudest moment. But the upcoming municipal election could help Muscatine out of its mess.
Columnist Barb Ickes talked to the people who want to turn the town around for this week's Big Story. Check it out in Sunday's Quad-City Times.