consultants are sandburs

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not one alone, standing, deciding for himself? An across the board planned collective absenteeism? A group boycott of League of Women Voters, as if this public spirited organization is a feared pariah? You decide.

"He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper."

 Edmund Burke


My understanding is at the Tuesday, Sept. 25 Ramsey City Council meeting there was citizen input about this. It is live-streamed on QCTV, so have a look. I was not there. That evening I was attending the Anoka County LWV forum, which was half-complete due to non-attendance but did not have to be cancelled over a slate of no-shows.

As a start, read reporting by Sakry, of ABC Newspapers, here. Rely on Sakry for facts and public commentary, since I add only a single opinion, and I am aware several readers hold differing opinions - something making our nation great - diversity of opinion.

In any event, know what Sakry reported, since you cannot judge things for yourself, until you know the facts.

Sakry's report, in part:

Ramsey voters will not get the opportunity to see the city council candidates go head to head on the issues this election.

With half of the candidates declining to participate, the League of Women Voters (LWV) had to the cancel the candidates forum scheduled for Oct. 10.

It is the LWV policy to have at least two or more candidates for each seat participate, [...]

Incumbents Mayor Bob Ramsey and Ward 2 Councilmember Colin McGlone as well as Wayne Buchholz for Ward 4 candidate and Joe Field, who is an at-large council candidate, declined to participate.

For Buchholz, the night of the forum conflicted with a previous commitment.

But for McGlone, his reason for not participating in the forum is more about campaign strategy.

His opponent Mark Kuzma is backed by an action committee that is stuffing mailboxes and putting up signs for him, so why should he give Kuzma more airtime, McGlone said.

[...] Mayor Ramsey’s reason has more to do with the LWV.

“I don’t agree with any of positions that the League of Women Voters has,” he said.

[...] “I don’t want to be subjected to answering questions that are skewed toward the league’s objectives,” Ramsey said.

Field objected to this year’s proposed format that would take questions from the audience.

With a political action committee (PAC), Citizens for Responsible Government, involved in local elections this year, taking questions from the audience would invite mischief, he said.

“I do not see this as a healthy, productive opportunity for discussion with a PAC involved,” Field said.

This is not the first time LWV has had to cancel a candidate forum in Ramsey.

In 2008, LWV only held a forum for one of the three seats that were up for election that year because of the lack of participation, McCulley said.

While the goal of the forums is to give citizens the opportunity to get informed, candidates have declined to participate for several reasons over the years, she said.

[emphasis added]. Not hiding behind mamma's skirts. It's the PAC, the evil devil, it will disadvantage us wholesome men who would be kings.

Or some say.

Other excuses: LWV is biased; or, sorrrrrrry, conflicting engagement. Sure. Hat tip to Bob Ramsey for at least speaking his mind over why he went AWOL. No odor of mendacity to his position. Not that we must agree with Bob, I surely do not. The League stands for many things, including the advantage to voters of having a chance to see candidate demeanor in public and to hear candidate ideas and counter proposals. Who can really be against that? Besides the no-shows.

Sure, you vote a secret ballot, but that does not mean it has to be an uninformed ballot too, or ill informed.

If there is a stalking evil PAC afoot doing truly evil things, wouldn't the logic be to show up and give warning, and hear rebuttal and hope to let voters see both sides of the coin to prove whether either side is counterfeit?

And what's counterfeit? "The PAC made me do it. I fear Dan Erhart, Natalie Steffin, big bad adults whose actions leave me tongue-tied, apprehensive."? Come on. Be real. Even the dog catcher has to show some fortitude, though none are running for that position. Fear of looking like a dunce because an opponent is more credible and argues better, that may exist, but then who is the better choice for council?

The idea, we contend we are capable to govern but will not confront opponents for a host of excuses, is an idea that neither hangs together nor sits well. And if you taste a Republican flavor to the collective boycott, don't ask me to disagree.

Bottom line in my mind: You do not get leprosy by showing up. You are no battle tested hero, by dodging battles. By trembling in contemplation of confrontation. In all four races, heads getting together? Group boycott? One could argue that. Figure it out for yourself.

What resulted is one stillborn town candidate forum where ideas might have been exchanged in a way helpful to voters. But not to be. Unfortunate is one word for it, planned is another, but that's a circumstantial inference which is arguably justified if you do not hear credible denials or counter-explanation. Weigh the evidence.

Joe, Colin, Bob and Wayne - what's to fear but fear itself?

"The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it."

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”
 Che Guevara

Picture this. Paul Revere, "I do not see this as a healthy, productive opportunity to ride, with the British coming." One if by land, two if by PAC. We all might still be singing God Save the Queen.

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
I was told the four showed up together, not one at a time or randomly, for taping of candidate statements at QCTV. UPDATE: Excuse me. Three of the four, were seen at QCTV together. Wayne Buccholz was not with Ramsey, McGlone and Field. So, for the image, name the sled captain Matt, and move on.

______________FURTHER UPDATE_____________

Note how the auto in the driveway leans to the right. This link.

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