Hardest election ever!

21 Oct

I received my mail-in ballot Tuesday of last week, and I’ll remind everybody – those are due in about two weeks, so I’d get mine in the mail by next Tuesday if I were you.

I usually fill mine out and send it right in, but this time I’ve been having a hard time deciding on some of the candidates.

I’ve been waiting for Bob Evans to be honest and  tell us what he knows about Tom Lando’s plans to increase our local sales tax, but you’ve  probably heard that old adage about skinning a cat. Bob won’t answer me on that, I’ve asked him point blank and he just avoids the question, slicker than a whistle, that dawg. I know Bob has signed the “argument against” Measure J, but I sure haven’t seen him out  there making any other noise about it. Sometimes I wonder, did he just tack his name onto that argument? Or does he really want to defeat Measure J? I’ve offered him a yard sign, we’ll see if he takes me up on that. I wish he would have given the issue some space on one or two of those billboards he’s got around town.

Almost the first thing Bob said after he mounted the dais was that he’d like to work to get a formal policy by which we replace a council member who steps down before their term is up. Remember, Bob got on council two years ago by default, really. He didn’t win the election, he was appointed to Larry Wahl’s vacated seat.  That was a big fight because currently there is no written policy to fill a vacant seat. It caused a big fight when Colleen Jarvis died with only months left in her term. Her friends in the Esplanade League tried to get her boyfriend appointed by getting “guaranteed” votes from Scott Gruendl, Maureen Kirk, and Dan Nguyen-tan  – but  this turned out to be a Brown Act violation, and Jarvis’ seat remained empty until the following election.  That meeting was nasty, with the liberals mobbing the chamber, shouting insults, etc.

Ann Schwab and her friends tried to have Sor Lo, a local businessman with no local political history, appointed to Wahl’s seat.  The chambers were packed for that meeting and the conversation went on and off the track for hours.   Bob was finally appointed on what I’d consider a shoo-in – he had come within 100 votes of winning in the election, trailing Goloff by only 61 votes, and Gruendl by only a couple of hundred. This seems like a sound enough policy to me, but it was a wrestling match getting Evans in that seat and it will be another wrestling match next time we have a councilor step down. It’s divisive, the liberals have driven the wedge deeper into our community with every push they’ve made to install somebody without the consent of the voters.  We told them that after the Jarvis mess but they didn’t listen, and we had to go through it all again with Sor Lo, amid accusations of racism and some pretty ugly talk from the liberals. And don’t forget the money that went into $taff time. 

This is an important issue, and I’d like to see it go forward. As I recall, it was assigned to the Internal Affairs committee, of which Evans is a member. That committee has been taken up with issues like “corporate personhood” and the smoking ban since last February. While I admired Bob’s comments on both of those issues, I have to say, where’s the vacant seat policy? I couldn’t find it anywhere in the 2012 minutes. They shelved that committee all summer, not one meeting. What happened there? 

Well, that committee is back in business, and discussing important issues, like sunshining the contracts and allowing a certain private developer to develop city-owned parking lots into residential/commercial buildings.  I don’t really like the direction either conversation is taking. The contract talks remain behind closed doors, we get to see the contracts and comment on them but we have no idea what kind of promises or threats are being made behind those doors. Meanwhile, our new city manager is laying the way for New Urban Builders to put “live-work units” on heavily used Downtown parking lots – a sudden switch in gears from the old “we don’t have enough parking Downtown” bullshit. 

I don’t know if I can vote for Evans, I’m sorry. This whole election is going to be tough.

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