by Jeff Hillberg
As Election Day nears I am very relieved that this garbage is almost over. On the local level I haven’t seen an election that has been less about the issues than this one. Whether it be who took money from who or illegal robo-calls, or who is a “cry-baby” as one mailer claimed, or the blatant fear mongering by supporters of Measure S. Did you know if you vote to raise your taxes all children will be buckled properly into car seats and no one will die in car accidents? Did you also know that Mayor Lazar doesn’t have any help? I feel like I am watching a joke. The background noise in this election has reached an absurd level.
Each campaign has made a large number of blunders and I want to outline the mistakes made by each:
Mary Jackson- Her main mistake is sending out mailers with the quote “help mayor Lazar.” The mayor is an adult he doesn’t need help. If he can’t get a coalition together on his own he probably shouldn’t be the mayor. Two years ago everyone complained about 5-0 votes and this time around the council is “dysfunctional” because of 3-2 votes please everyone make up your mind. She also made the mistake of taking union money from a group in Sacramento, which kept her from the moral high ground when it comes to denouncing Amy and Kurt for their contributions from an out of town developer.
DJ Fransen- Took the charges against Kurt and Amy and was not able to incorporate that into a strategy that focused on his accomplishments within the community. His campaign should have solely focused on his involvement with organizations within the city. He could have played the “I can get things done without a large amount of money what have you accomplished.” What will end up being his main blunder is putting up signs that say “Help Mayor Lazar” (for reasons stated above).
Amy Bublak- Taking large amounts of money from Mark Hall will be her biggest mistake. It’s not that taking the money in and of itself is a problem it just raises questions about judgment. Why would you not reach out to a wider base for funds? If she loses it will be her own fault for even letting this be an angle for her opponents to attack and for voters to question her integrity. She also screwed up by allowing a group to make illegal robo-calls supporting her. The fact that she did not denounce the calls left her open to even larger questions about her integrity.
Kurt Vander Weide- He has run one of the laziest campaigns I have ever seen an incumbent run. It appears as though he doesn’t even want to win. He also made the mistake of taking a large amount of money from Mark Hall and laughing off the illegal robo-calls instead of calling them what they were which is inappropriate and having no place in elections. It is one thing to bash an opponent it is another to not do it yourself and hide behind a make believe PAC.
I hope two years from now people actually discuss the issues instead of getting stuck on the background noise. The most important issue the city faces is a projected $2 million budget deficit next year and the updating of the general plan. I am surprised these two issues did not dominate the campaign the way they should have instead the issue that was talked about most was the behavior of the candidates. I hope we have better luck next time.