Sunday, October 30, 2011

Endorsement Season

Pols and Papers Pick People

I heard that Captain Steve was interested enough in my endorsement of him Friday to quote it on air. (Except my characterization of his sense of humor didn't quite translate from the original Throgmorton.) Here's some other endorsements that may or may not be of interest:

Supervisor Rod Sullivan has also made some picks and shared them with his email list (now available in blog format):
In the Iowa City at-large race, I support Matt Hayek and Raj Patel. I have had my share of disagreements with (Hayek's) stances on certain issues. But I know Matt makes his decisions for the right reasons, and not for personal gain. He is a stand up guy and a damn good mayor.

I have only gotten to know Raj over the past few months, but he impresses me. He is smart and works hard. It is amazing to me that Iowa City has gone 30 years without a student on the council. The problem has typically been that the student candidates were not up to the task. Not so this time - Raj Patel can do the job.
Halfway with you there, Rod. My second vote after Raj was a write-in, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to recommend it. Sullivan also puts in a good word for the unopposed Jim Throgmorton.

Speaking of Throg, he's also seen praising Patel:
To experience a new younger passionate voice causes one to stop, reflect and ask a simple question, “isn’t this the type of individual that creates a desire to participate?”
Makes up for the Dobyns thing, Jim. UPDATE from the comments: not everyone thinks so. Soboroff backer Eric Nygaard is urging a District C write-in vote for Dan Tallon, who announced for District C early in the year but left the race after returning from his military tour in Afghanistan. I like Dan a lot, and voted for him two years ago. But I've already voted for Jim and have no regrets. Like I said Friday, I've never voted for a candidate I agreed with 100% including the time I ran myself.

Also seen on the Patel page: Supervisor Janelle Rettig ("Raj is running an impressive campaign reaching out door to door to hear your ideas for continuing our growth as a vibrant place that is attractive to live, work, and play.”) and outgoing District A council member Ross Wilburn (“Please support Raj Patel for Iowa City Council as one of your general election choices. Raj is running an impressive campaign reaching out door to door to hear your ideas for continuing our growth as a vibrant place that is attractive to live, work, and play.”)

Speaking of Wilburn and District A, current Gazette writer and former political activist (we miss ya, Jen) attended a Dobyns-Soboroff forum and commented on the bipolar nature of District A, both the candidates and the district:
You almost wonder if the two candidates live in the same town. And technically, they do.

But Soboroff lives on the city’s southeast side. Dobyns on the west — areas of town that are as night-and-day different as the candidates themselves.

Both Soboroff and Dobyns give you the feeling they’d represent their parts of the city well.

But because District A is so sprawling, no matter who is elected, residents from one or another part of the district will once again have to go without a council representative with firsthand knowledge of their neighborhood’s challenges and strengths.

So District A voters have a clear choice to make during next month’s election. And something else is equally clear: It’s time to add a fourth district to Iowa City’s city council.
Interesting enough, but a couple points:

  • Both poles of the district have, or have had, representation in recent years. Longtime mayor Ernie Lehman, though he was so identified with his downtown business that I got the facts wrong for years, is a west sider. And if you think any group would be under-represented it'd be African Americans from the southeast side... but Ross Wilburn, who lives in the heart of the Weatherby neighborhood, has been there for 12 years including two as mayor.

  • You know who hasn't been represented in 32 years? Students. And part of that is because to get seated on the city council, you have to in the end win a city-wide election, and historically voters east of Governor and west of Sunset have been about as willing to back young candidates as white Mississipians are to support black candidates. If anyone can break that barrier, it's Patel, who already proved in the primary he can pull votes outside downtown.

    Rettig makes an excellent argument against districting systems in local government: if a specific project like a road directly benefits only one geographic interest, and only one of the five or seven members has to win votes in that area, then the project will never get passed. True. The exception I'd make is if there's a historic pattern of a significant minority group being unable to gain representation -- say, African Americans in Mississippi. Or students in Iowa City.

    I'm betting that Raj Patel, the most able and best organized young candidate in decades, can make the question moot. But if Patel doesn't win, it proves beyond doubt that it's impossible for a student-age candidate to win a city-wide election, and that city charter reform is necessary to achieve truly representative government in our city.

    Johnson County is not just Iowa City, Senator Bob Dvorsky is fond of saying, and he and Fearless Leader Sue Dvorsky offer an endorsement of Coralville city council member Mitch Gross for re-election. A Jill Dodds sign has also been spotted at Casa Dvorsky.

    The P-C backs North Liberty council incumbents Coleen Chipman, Terry Donahue and Chris Hoffman, and opposed the ballot issue to elect the council by wards. Some of the fizz seems to have gone out of that one; the one challenger, Matt Zacek, is from the same Fox Run neighborhood as the council majority. The P-C also endorses mayor Tom Salm, even though the office isn't on the ballot until 2013.

    Other hot spots: Solon has a ballot issue to but the Brosh Funeral Home for city offices, the mayor's race is contested in Tiffin, and there are five write-in candidates in of all places Shueyville. But the big one, of course, is the Battle Of University Heights.
  • 1 comment:

    Eric said...

    A new, younger, passionate voice was available in Dan Tallon who unfortunately decided to drop out of the District C race, leaving Raj the only young student candidate in the race. Hopefully Raj will get elected .