Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Scattershot

Well, another long election day come and gone. On the SMD 4 race, congratulations really, to both candidates. Mr. Adams prevailed by 18 votes out of nearly 500. A close race, well conducted, no negatives or ad hominem employed. As I stated after my interview, Conchoinfo does not endorse, but in this case, I thought SMD 4 would be well represented by either candidate. I look forward to Mr. Adams' representation and I hope Mr. Bart continues to be politically involved.

My usual polling place being folded in to pct 144, our crew was placed elsewhere. The new system worked well beyond my expectations. Outside of a few details in start-up, this was the easiest process I have dealt with since I started doing this. Once we got the hang of it, the VoteSafe system is the most user-friendly I have ever dealt with. I hope it was as trouble free from the voters' side of the table. If there is anything good to be said of a light turnout, this happened to be an ideal election for the introduction of a new system. Come next election, we've got it cold. Thanks Vona, Rudi, everybody at elections, you made our jobs easier.

In a stunning upset, Mayor Lown retained his position. OK, I get to have fun too. I have to say, I will be disappointed if we do not see young Mr. Bryan, and his teacher Lars Nyberg, again. Mr. Bryan still has time to make the record for youngest Mayor, and shows promise. Buena suerte, both of you.

It may not be a "hot" issue, but those of us who wake up to, and drive home on KUTX, the Angelo rebroadcast of KUT National Public Radio, are justifiably worried about the likely shift to KOHM, the Lubbock and Texas Tech affiliate. It would seem natural for the ASU station to follow the affiliation with Tech, BUT...

Are we going to see the same programming? Much of what we hear on KUT will be on KHOM, but I do not see "CarTalk" or "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". So far, no one has asked us, you know, the local listeners what we think of the change. Is there room in this deal to dicker for a locally produced, ASU originated, local affairs program? Talk about a great chance for ASU students to get their "feet wet"; a local, forgiving audience, with real time at the board or behind the mike. Been there done that in acting, all the classroom in the world doesn't mean beans until you've been "onstage". I hope someone in this process bothers to inquire as to local sentiment, but given Rallo's concern as to street closings, I'm not counting on it.

I have recently viewed a "San Angelo" DVD put out by Mayor Lown and others. I commend it to your attention. It's good, it's short enough to be used in an economic development presentation, hits the high points and makes the city look as good as I believe it to be. OK, JW Lown is in every other shot, BUT, a) he is the Mayor; and b)he paid for it. If you haven't seen it, it is available at .
No kidding, it is a good production.

Now for the weekly quibble. Surely you didn't think I would get through a Sunday ramble without beefing about something!

San Angelo Standard-Times, Friday May 8: interview with candidates Adams and Bart.
Question 4 "Which should take precedent if these conflict; the opinion of your district's constituents, or what you feel is in the best interests of the city as a whole?"

Adams: "I represent the people, and am accountable to them".

Bart: "That question is easy. If you are an elected official, the will of the people takes precedence; they got you there. You are a representative of that body, not the leader".

I genuinely respected both candidates, not my precinct, but the snout-counting is done, I can speak freely.

This country, this "Miracle of Philadelphia", as recorded by Catherine Bower, did not come to "pure democracy". We have a representative republic. We do not sit as Athenians did and vote on every jot and tittle of local law, we elect (we hope) persons who will exercize good judgement on the myriad items on Council agenda, while we go about our daily lives.

Mr. Bart; if you are not the "leader" how exactly do you know the temper of your electorate on a paticular item on agenda? Have you done polling, have you had a privately funded election? Of course not. If you are going by the phone calls you get, that is a seriously skewed self-selecting poll with the winners/losers WAY overloading the true majority, whose opinion you are at best guessing at. It might accidentally represent the true value of your constituents, or more likely, represent the opinions of those with a, pardon the gig, "Dog in the hunt".

I have heard this "I defer to the wishes of my people" line all my voting life. Makes a good sound-bite, but it's physically impossible.

Hypothetical: Six months from election, a whole new issue comes up, very urgent, a lot of quick study just to get the details of the issue. Maybe a sewer main collapse or Sherwood Way falls into a sinkhole, whatever. Are you going to study the issue in its intricacies or ask the opinion of an electorate which may or may not even know it's out there? If you are unwilling to be the "leader", you should not run to be one.

On this point, Mr Adams was correct; "I represent the people, and am accountable to them". By that standard, he will use his judgement, one hopes accepting advice, for two years, and if we are dissatisfied, we get to vote him out in 24 months, that is the "accountable to them" part.

Almost forgot, happy Mother's Day. Mother's Day was formally estabilished by President Woodrow Wilson as a national holiday, possibly the most succssful item of his "I will keep us out of War" legacy. He also established the Federal Reserve System, the League of Nations, and the Federal Trade Commission. Were that my "legacy", I'd be proud of Mother's Day and hope the audience had forgotten the rest.

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