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Jul 31, 2007

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David Wharton

Joel Landau is a serious candidate who has experience in city government and a vision for Greensboro.

He deserves more coverage than he's gotten.

Joe Wilson

How about joewilsonforcitycouncil.com ? Thanks Mr. Cone. Now us little guys can get some respect too .

Ed Cone

Your blog has been listed at left for some time now, Joe. Will be updating links when I can.

tonywilkins

Thanks for providing that information and the links Ed.
The coverage I've seen for Landau so far was that he announced his fund raiser to be at a "Democratic Reunion" in a supposedly non-partisan race.
Is we is, or is we ain't, gonna have a non-partisan City Council election?

Bubba

"Is we is, or is we ain't, gonna have a non-partisan City Council election?"

As we all know, it's "non-partisan" in name only.

Why do we perpetuate that particular sham?

Roch101

"Why do we perpetuate that particular sham?"

In at least one substantive way it is not a shame at all. Non-partisan races allow unaffilated candidates and third party candidates to have equal access. Should council elections become officially partisan, non-affiliated candidates will be required to meet some kind of threshold to get on the ballot not impossed on party-nominated candidates, like having to gather a certain number of signatures.

Non-partisan city council races keep the process open to candidates of any affiliation. I think that best serves Greensboro. Don't you?

joe wilson

Thanks Ed , The address I included is my campaign website .

Bubba

"Non-partisan city council races keep the process open to candidates of any affiliation."

Partisan races do not preclude that from happening.

This is particularly true on a local basis.

Roch101

"Partisan races do not preclude that from happening."

I did not say they did. As I quite clearly stated, partisan races will require third party and unaffiliated candidates to surmount some new hurdle that currently doesn't exist, such as gathering a number of signatures.

Instead of digging your heels in just to argue, Bubba, why don't you tell us why you support a change that would make it harder for people to get on the ballot.

Bubba

"I did not say they did."

No, I said it. It's a statement of fact.

The solution is to change the hurdle to one less burdensome and make it the same for everyone.

Stop the crap about "digging in your heels". It's unwarranted, and it's EXACTLY the type of thing that was discussed yesterday here, at the end of the comments.

Continue to be part of the problem, or attempt to be part of the solution.

Just let me know, so I can respond accordingly.

Roch101

Please explain to me, Bubba, how candidates would get on the primary ballot and how they would get on the general election ballot under the partisan elections you envision. Please be sure to explain the proceedure for both major party candidates and for unaffiliated or third-party candidates for the primary and general elections.

Mick

Could the elections still not be held exactly the same way just with an R, D, L, I next to the name of the candidate? Just a question as I truly dont know.

Roch101

Sure, Mick, that's a possibility. Is that what you meant, Bubba?

Usually a partisan election means that the primaries are used to whittle the party-affiliated candidates down to one for each party--that's more problematic as far as giving full and equal access to unaffiliated candidates.

Bubba

"Could the elections still not be held exactly the same way just with an R, D, L, I next to the name of the candidate?"

Yes. The obstacles to doing so are not insurmountable.

As i said before, the solution is to change the hurdle to one less burdensome and make it the same for everyone.

How that should best occur is yet to be determined.

Roch101

"the solution is to change the hurdle to one less burdensome and make it the same for everyone." -- Bubba

As it stands, one pays a small filing fee and they are on the ballot. What are you proposing that would make running for local office "less burdensome?"

Ed Cone

Party lines often fail to define positions on local issues in a useful way. Non-partisan races have virtues beyond ballot access.

Bubba

"Non-partisan races have virtues beyond ballot access."

Which are.....?

Ed Cone

The benefits include those that flow from the first sentence: Party lines often fail to define positions on local issues in a useful way.

It may be easier for elected officials to cooperate with each other and better represent the interests of their constituencies if they don't have to toe a party line.

The Guilford County commissioners have offered an example of the hazards of party politics in local governance.

Bubba

"The Guilford County commissioners have offered an example of the hazards of party politics in local governance."


Such as Skip Alston's problems with some of his fellow Dems on the board?

We've also seen this happen in city council.

We may also see it happen in this coming election campaign among candidates who have partisan identity too.

Intra party politics is as much a problem and an issue as "partisan" politics.

Bubba

"It may be easier for elected officials to cooperate with each other and better represent the interests of their constituencies if they don't have to toe a party line."

Or it may not.

Ed Cone

The perfect is the enemy of the good. I'm not suggesting non-partisan races as the magical solution to local governance, just pointing out possible reasons to retain the system.

Bubba

"Party lines often fail to define positions on local issues in a useful way."


No big detriment.

It's the indivdual candidates responsibilty to do this anyway.

Roch101

Bubba,

Thanks for this discussion. You have single-handedly demonstrated that your idea serves only your desire to be disagreeable, as serious suggestions for positive change, they are hollow. Bubba rolls snake eyes again -- makes a lot of noise while doing it, but craps out when it comes to substance.

Bubba

Can you not think of reasons that argue FOR partisan identification for candidates?

Why would candidates in a non-partisan local race ask for help from partisan groups like the organized political parties, individual Democrats or the simkins PAC?

Bubba

Add "or Republicans" after "Democrats" in my last post.

Bubba

"Thanks for this discussion. You have single-handedly demonstrated that your idea serves only your desire to be disagreeable, as serious suggestions for positive change, they are hollow. Bubba rolls snake eyes again -- makes a lot of noise while "

I rest my case from above.

Buzz off, Roch.

Ed Cone

What's the point of snarking at each other? It doesn't advance either argument. Why not let the arguments, counterarguments, and lack thereof speak for themselves, instead of jumping to "you suck?"

Bubba

"What's the point....?"

The point is that someone else was looking to provoke confrontation.

Ed Cone

"He started it" is a notoriously lame excuse.

And this shit didn't start two comments ago. If it's going to stop, you are going to have to be a part of making it stop, Bubba. That means not falling right back into the same old routine at the first provocation.

Roch101

No, the point is Bubba made an assertion -- that non-partisan local elections are a "sham." He offered nothing of substance beyond that. Asked for examples of how partisan elections would benefit the community, how they would work in practice or how his ideas would make ballot access more fair, he crumbles. After the time and energy I spent attempting to engage Bubba in good faith on this issue to no avail, I don't apologize for pointing out his idiocy.

Ed Cone

Roch, please don't be part of the problem. I'm asking this little community to work together.

You've banged your head on this particular wall many times. So have I. Maybe time to try something different.

Let your arguments speak for themselves. If people can't or won't make substantive responses to substantive comments, then let's trust readers to notice it and avoid the millionth flame war.

Ed Cone

Roch, please don't be part of the problem. I'm asking this little community to work together.

You've banged your head on this particular wall many times. So have I. Maybe time to try something different.

Let your arguments speak for themselves. If people can't or won't make substantive responses to substantive comments, then let's trust readers to notice it and avoid the millionth flame war.

Laurie

Well, ignoring the usual bluster as best as I can, here's a reason that I like non-partisan local elections. In the last election, I supported Diane Davis for City Council because I agreed with most of her ideas and thought that the CC needed a downtowner, non-developer, small business owner. Admitting my partisanship here, I would probably not been as willing to pay attention to her ideas had I known that she was registered in a party that I do not agree with on nearly everything at a state and national level. Most people these days have biases and preconceived views about one party or another.

anglico

I had a good long talk with my wife about the sometimes irresistible urge to respond to stuff when you know it's not productive. She says it's part of basic human hard wiring, similar to the good old "orienting" response that keeps us aware of threats. You see something move in the corner of your eye and you automatically turn your head, just in case it's a saber tooth tiger.

For me, it takes great restraint to hold back and let things flow by without commentary. Sort of like being David (?) Carradine on Kung Fu . . . letting the bad guys pass until you finally have to beat the crap out of them in self defense. For the most part, that physical danger rarely materializes, though I have been personally threatened more times than I care to remember.

All of which leads me to take Ed's advice, to breathe a little more often, and keep my so-called powder dry until the shit really hits the fan.

Cheers!

Fred Gregory

Ed,

You argue that " party lines often fail to define positions on local issues, in a useful way. " If taxing, spending and growth of government isn't the most fundamental local issue I don't know what is and is a major difference between the two major parties

I have a friend who recently received a mail solicitation from Yvonne Johnson asking for money. In fact she lives in the county and can't vote in city elections. We suspect her name was plucked from a list of the Democrat Womens Club. She has been forgiven and has not been active with that bunch for many , many years. These elections are non-partisan in name only. Greensboro should follow Ashville's lead and switch to partisan elections.

Partisan In Ashville A Good Thing

Dave Dobson

I'd find it useful for some of the elections to know who's a D or an R (or an L, or a commie, or a green, or whatever), so I'd have some baseline guess as to what their priorities are, even if those priorities don't always translate well to community issues. If the N&R printed a better election guide for local elections, then I wouldn't need this, but I don't usually find the time to research every single city, county, or judge election. I fear I've occasionally voted for somebody horribly opposed to my views because I can't remember my research when I get to the booth.

I don't think you'd have to have a primary; just indicate an affiliation if the individual wanted to list one.

Ed Cone

Dishing it out and taking it is fine. Following the same pattern time and again, with no change, ever, thread after thread after thread, so that every thread becomes about the same commenter, is tiresome.

Fred, I don't think those issues are as partisan at a local level sometimes, nor should they be. For that matter, spending and government growth aren't the property of one party at the national level these days, either.

Bubba

"'He started it" is a notoriously lame excuse'"

It's not an excuse, it's a documented fact, a statement made after I asked him to keep it civil in light of what we discussed yesterday on this blog.

I acted appropriately.

The fact of the matter is this: The city council elections are non partisan in name only. Everything else about them is partisan.

Ed Cone

Bubba, it did not start with that comment, or in this thread. I mean for this to end.

I disagree that our local elections are nonpartisan in name only. Keith Holliday, to choose one example, moves comfortably through a lot of arenas in ways that a mayor elected as a Democrat might not be able to do. Ditto Robbie Perkins, a Republican.

Interesting that some of the more partisan Republicans in these comments really want partisan elections -- my guess is that a partisan council in GSO would elect a lot of Democrats, and that once elected on party lines they might be more prone to acting on party lines than now. Not what I want to see.

Elizabeth Wheaton

Back to the original topic: Joel asked the N&R to do its "civic duty" by providing fuller coverage of local electoral candidates. JR's response was abysmal. (Gosh, aren't we all be better off for reading an article about a local woman on a wife-swapping reality show?)

This is not a political party issue; this is yet another example of the city's largest and most influential newspaper failing to recognize important local issues.

If the past is any predictor of the future, sometime in Sept. the N&R will publish a list of candidates featuring:

Name
Address
Employment
Previous offices held
Church affiliation
Civic group memberships
Two or three of their key issues
Website

Then one Sun. in late Oct., there will be a two-page spread giving the candidates 100 words or so to respond to a few questions on hot local topics from the N&R's editorial board.

Ho hum.

Margaret Banks has said that she is already doing the groundwork for her election coverage, and she sounds a lot more enthusiastic than JR about the need for some depth in that coverage. Her recent reporting has been excellent (keep poking, MB!), which encourages me to think her local elex. work will be equally impressive.

The problem, of course, is that the final decisions are made by editors. And if her editor is not equally enthusiastic...

(In the interest of full disclosure, I no longer live in Guilford Co. I still consider GSO my hometown, though. Does that make me a vicarious voter?)

Bubba

"Ditto Robbie Perkins, a Republican."

BAD example.

Margaret Banks

Thanks, Liz!

Just so you know, my editor (Eddie Wooten) is working on a new improved list of biographical stuff for candidates. He thought the old model needed revamping, too.

Also, the questionnaire we sent to candidates is different this year. The questions are REALLY specific and tailored to each seat/district.

Can't remember if I wrote this before or not, so I apologize if I'm repeating myself: This is my 7th Greensboro City Council election cycle with this newspaper, and I haven't seen anything this interesting and different before.

Seymour Hardy Floyd

Another candidate seconds Joel's letter.

I appreciated Elizabeth Wheaton's more thorough look-back at past News & Record coverage.

She implies--and I agree--that the News & Record coverage can go further this year.

And it's very cool that Margaret Banks is in this discussion and not taking offense that readers are offering input.

Margaret's also beautifully modeling how to respond to other's comments--with respect, with acknowledgement, with her own points, even with humor.

Criticism--even constructive criticism, which I think and hope is what some of us are trying to provide--isn't easy for most of us to take.

I've received it before, and even when I know the criticism might be true--maybe very true--a part of me wants to get defensive and start saying, "But hey, don't you appreciate what I have been doing?"

I'm going to try to be tough and positive like Margaret!

Finally, I strongly agree that the city council needs to remain non-partisan.

I think Ed made a great point about Mayor Holliday, and I didn't think Robbie Perkins was such a bad example either.

Joe Wilson

all Hail Elizabeth Wheaton ! One of my personal heroes. I hope this morning finds her happy, well and pissed at some injustice somewhere.

David Wharton

SHF, I didn't get the point of Bubba's comment about Perkins, either. Robbie was a strong supporter of Project Homestead -- not an obvious position for a Republican to stake out.

Fred Gregory

ED,

Obviously you don't think Ashville is enlightened. At least you made no comment about their decision to go back to partisan city council elections. Did you read the link in my comment above ?

Ed Cone

Yes, Fred, it was an interesting and informative article. Thnx for adding it to the mix.

Ed Cone

Asheville is having second thoughts.

Again, looking around the web, it's interesting that the support for partisan elections seems to come mostly from people who voice highly partisan points of view. I don't think that's what I want for GSO government.

Bubba

Robbie Perkins' profession too often poses a conflict of interest with the responsibilities of a city councilman in areas of regulatory authority and the influence that goes along with the position.

Recusing himself from the most obvious examples of conflict doesn't resolve that issue.

Bubba

And, as Ed said, I don't think that's what I want for city government.

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