Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ah... What the heck...

The last post got me back into the political mindset so I figure... what's a couple of more posts with with a local political theme??

I'm going to make some comments off of an article that appeared on Monday in the KDM. Some may call it the sour grapes article since it covers the reactions from some candidates that didn't move on passed the primary election.

Article here.

Candidates reflect on losses, turnout

James Chilton
Miner Staff Writer

Bill Nugent pulled in just 23 percent of the votes cast in the mayoral race last week, and after the primary election, he described his defeat as a reflection of what the voters truly wanted.

"Not much to say other than I take the message loud and clear," Nugent said. "Status quo keep going."

In other words... 'Welcome to Kingman... just don't move here, bring jobs here, develop new opportunities here, or blink while driving through along the Interstate'.

Oh... was that too harsh??

Although he received endorsements from the real estate association, the homebuilders association and four of six votes from the Miner's Editorial Board, Nugent secured just 23 percent of the 4,331 votes cast in the mayoral race.

"I'm not bitter. I'm really not," he said. "In fact, I'm somewhat enthused that a thousand people believe in small government," he said of the 1,014 votes he did receive.

I doubt there will be a 'next time', but just in case... next time Bill, I hear having no agenda, buying hot dogs for people at the park, and an 'aw shucks' attitude speaks well to over 2,000 typical voters in Kingman.

Mr. Nugent could have campaigned quite a bit harder and I guess I was expecting him to do just that, but alas -- he did not. (Don't worry... I have criticisms for my own campaign as well.) It must be clear to see from the results... a strong voter education campaign must happen if we are ever going to see a different outcome in these elections for those people that voted for both Mr. Nugent and Ms. Gates. Growth scares the 'jeebus' out of the typical 60% of voters that have the needed votes right now, but it is not about them. It is about the extra thousand or so votes from voters that DON'T vote... but really need to in this community. It is really not that hard of a hill to climb.

Realtor and Council candidate Todd Tarson, who pulled in 18.45 percent of the vote, said intends to run again in two years if Salem, Gordon and the other incoming Council members fail to change what he too called "the status quo."

"I'm obviously disappointed in the results, but I'm not embarrassed," he said. "I'm pretty proud."

One thing I noticed throughout the coverage of the campaign was that I was referred to as 'Realtor and candidate'. Don't get me wrong, I love the pre-fix of Realtor and I have no issues with it. It's just that I never noticed anyone else getting tagged with such a job descriptor with the consistency that I did. Did you ever see 'Retired racing enthusiast and candidate Harley Pettit' with consistency in the Miner?? I didn't either. Again, not a big deal... just something I noticed.

I am proud of the of the votes that I tallied. I have received numerous calls and emails since the election results (just got another call as I was typing) sharing with me their disappointment that I didn't at least move on to the general election. I have been stopped by other fine folks at supermarkets, other stores, and at places where eating takes place that said they voted for me and were saddened by my results. I've even been contacted by voters that didn't vote for me but wanted to pass along well wishes and congratulations for having the guts to simply be part of the important election cycle. All of it humbles me, all of it makes me truly feel honored.

Tarson said he was happy to have shared the stage with his fellow candidates, and that the election had been a learning experience for him.

Now time for 'Todd Tarson... you are a lousy campaigner' comments.

I knew from the beginning that my success was predicated on one thing only. Additional voters that don't normally vote. I did a lousy job appealing to those potential voters in the numbers I needed for success.

If 'our' side really wants to make an impact in future elections, we all must reach out to the folks that are somehow registered to vote, but choose not to. We need to find out why they aren't voting and perhaps give them real reasons to lend their voice to this community.

Many people helped me acquire the necessary signatures needed to qualify my petition to run for council, however after that I took on the bulk of the campaign duties myself. It was my mistake to do so. Even though I had offers from many nice people (with plenty of great ideas) I chose to run my own campaign. I just didn't have the time I truly needed to dedicate to get more votes.

Like other candidates, I attended most of the forums that were offered by the different community groups. One thing that I noticed was at most events, the same faces were there as previous forums and overall the events were not that well attended. I know at the beginning the room at the Elk's Club was full of attendance. It doesn't take all that many people though to fill half that room. My best guess was that the candidates were speaking to about 60 to 100 people at any given forum. It is also my feeling that these folks could be counted on to vote (which is a good thing), but the messages were not getting out to the non-voting public.

The media coverage for the forums was spotty at best for the forums. While a few of the forums received front page attention, I never noticed any of the staff writers asking follow up questions of the candidates to clarify any positions. One exception, new staff writer for the Miner -- James Chilton -- did ask candidates follow up questions at the NABA (builders association) forum, but I never saw any reporting in the Miner of that event. (In fairness to Mr. Chilton... he told me that he had been on the job for a whole 2 hours before being sent over to cover that event, and in a later conversation he told me he had zero background on the issues important to Kingman and NABA... that he didn't know what Rattlesnake Wash was or the issues surrounding it. I bet he is a quick study though and will do just fine in his new position.)

I'll save my words about The Standard journalist, and RAID member, Marvin Robertson for perhaps another day... but I will say that I didn't appreciate his editorial comments attributed to the things I said at the forums. He doesn't need to speak for me, only write what I said. This is a person with I'm sure infinite wisdom on many things, but he didn't even do basic things like ask questions of this former candidate for clarification on issues that I brought up at various forum events before editorializing my comments.

It was my mistake to rely on the things I did during my candidacy, and mine only. Like I've said before though, this was an incredible learning experience. If the chance to run again does come about, I'll be campaigning much differently and more aggressively.

I will say that I thought that Robin Gordon ran an incredible campaign and I'm very proud of her. I may not agree with all of her issues going forward, but she must be commended for the fine campaign she ran that had obvious success.

Like Nugent, Tarson has his reservations about the mayor-elect regarding some of the things he's said about developers.

"He said some things during those (candidate forums) that I didn't challenge, like that 'wolves at the door' comment; they aren't wolves at the door, they're opportunities at the door," Tarson said. "If things don't get better soon in our economy when we have the opportunity to make it happen, it's going to fall on him."

Mayor Elect John Salem is a quality individual and I will never say otherwise. With that said, he is now a public official (just not officially until June). There were things about his (lack of) issues that I was not comfortable with during his campaign. He said he was against using tax money to pay for one proposed interchange along Interstate 40, but favored making room in the budget with our tax dollars to pay for a different proposed interchange... different standards for different people doesn't sound equitable. He did impress many people, therefore voters, though and I'm not arguing with the voters at all here.

I believed that this election was about the community and as a candidate, Mr. Salem offered me nothing in the way that spoke to improving the opportunities in the community. He wasn't my choice for mayor.

With that said, he will now be mayor and I will support him as best as I can... especially when he is actively leading the community towards more opportunity and prosperity for the 'regular' people here in Kingman that he says he identifies with. That does mean when he is leading the charge for a more growth oriented agenda, one that I'm sure he will see is the best for this struggling community at the present. I will support his efforts to make Kingman a competitive marketplace for new business, to bring new demand, improve infrastructure, and provide modern and accepted amenities familiar with 99% of other similar sized communities throughout the country.

I'd much rather be a friend of the new mayor and council, rather than a foe. I'd rather be a supporter instead of a detractor. This community needs all the support it can get. The task will be large, but if we elected the right people then we should all expect to see progress... not excuses.

If you click on the link for the article you will see some other comments from other former candidates. They are interesting, but I'm not going to review them here.

I wish the new Mayor and the soon to be newly elected Council nothing but the best and I hope that I can help garner support for important issues that would favor the community. They will deserve a fair opportunity to put Kingman back on a path for progress. Please join me in wishing them well.

No comments: