Monday, April 04, 2011

Political Lit - Fair?

The Rag has a discussion going about Chad Speight's lit piece and his criticism of alder Mike Veserat - fair or fowl? I don't get over to the Rag very often (mostly just due to time constraints), but here's my response to that discussion (I also, posted it there, but this post is vastly improved.).

For what’s it’s worth – probably not much at the 11th hour (literally) – alder Veserat proposed to cut a half position out of the Mayor’s proposed budget, which had increased the staffing by a half-position. So Mike’s proposed amendment was in a sense status quo, but budgets are all about setting priorities and the proposed amendment showed where Mike's priorities were. Jake Anderson had increased the Rec Programming revenue. He withdrew the amendment without even offering it only after a pretty significant amount of public opposition (very rare in budget hearings). It was clearly not going to pass and might not have even gotten a second. Chad’s criticism is fair, in my eyes.

Chad's point about the Transit Committee not meeting is accurate; whether you think it was a big deal or not, again I think it showed priorities. Chad thinks transit is more important than Mike does. If you agree with Chad, then that’s a reason to vote for him.


  1. Yet, Chad painted Mike's amendment as a cut to the Rec department. The amendment would have only restored funding back to original levels-so that is a cut?

  2. Personally, I would rather see people "sell themselves" and avoid bringing down others. I hold more respect for that. There is enough negative on the state and national level. I would rather see the local politics stay clean.

  3. "The amendment would have only restored funding back to original levels-so that is a cut?"

    When we are working on the operating budget, the mayor proposes the new budget for the following year. That is the document we are responding to. You can play semantics either way, but I come back to the fact that the proposed amendment revealed something important about Mike's priorities.

  4. "I would rather see the local politics stay clean."

    I guess I don't see making factual statements about the record of a candidate as being dirty politics.

    I understand that compare & contrast statements makes people uncomfortable especially in local elections in a small town. I have shied away from it myself (I didn't always do that.). However, without such comparisions, it can often be difficult to figure out where candidates stand.

  5. I agree with Doug that Chad was not being dirty. "Dirty" means lying, name-calling, or bending the truth so much that it's not recognizable. That is something much different than truth-telling. You may not like the way Chad framed the issue, but as Doug says, the point is that Veserat showed in his amendment where his priorities are.

    Veserat has always been about the status quo and he doesn't hide it, he promotes that as being a positive. Others of us find clinging to the status quo to be a bad way to run a city.

  6. Regarding the comment that includes:

    "I talked to Mike about his amendment..." regarding the Parks budget.

    The comment then relates what the commenter says Mike told him about his reasons for offering this amendment. The commenter then delivers a couple of slams at the city's park & rec director, particularly regarding program fees.

    I have two and a half problems with this comment and will not publish it. First, the comment provides a second-hand rendition of Mike's reasons for the amendment. Second, the commenter offers this information anonymously.

    So, is the information accurate? I have no way to evaluate it and, more important, no need to do so because Mike could just explain his reasons directly. I would be glad to publish his views.

    A related problem is that it slams one of our employees by name and at best mischaracterizes city policies *and* does so anonymously. Slam by name, then sign your name and give me a way to verify your identity.

    Staff doesn't make the policies of the city. The mayor and city council do. If you have a beef with the policies, ask us or slam us (why do I keep using the word 'slam'? Am I slam I am this morning?).

  7. With apologies to anyone who has submitted pending comments, I have decided to shut down comments on this post for a little cooling off period. This action is more preemptive on my part than reactive. Feelings are a bit raw in some quarters and there's nothing to be gained by prolonging the post-election period.