Step Right Up, Place Your Bets

It’s too bad you can’t gamble in this country on politics. What, are people worried it might make politicians cheat? HAHAHAHA. That was a good one, sorry.

So we’re on the eve of a special election here in Longmont. One thing I’m glad to see is way more people jumping in than usual, whether it’s in the Open Forum of the Times-Call or websites and blogs. Lots going on, lots being said, how will it impact the final result? Again, I don’t mind if I’m wrong on a prediction, and since I already sort of made one earlier about this election, I’ll follow up on it.

I said that Gabe Santos would lose the November election, but win the special election. This was before anyone officially entered this latest race. Now let’s go through what’s different about this race, events that may have shifted things, etc.

Turnout: This is the great unknown and any prediction is tough not knowing how this will go. In November’s election 15,086 people voted for the at-large seat. Special elections tend to not bring out as many voters, at first I figured 80% of November’s turnout. But this cycle has been different, the Times-Call did a large story about this, and maybe the turnout will be about the same after all.

Candidates: In November’s election Santos received 6,319 votes, or 41.9% of the vote. Paul Tiger received 1,758 votes and is not running this time. I can’t see why someone who voted for Santos in November would change it now. Tiger endorsed Richard Juday, not sure how many people caught that, not sure if it matters to Libertarian voters, and not sure if it helps! (Sorry Paul, people like us don’t always help with our endorsements). So I gave 60% of Tigers votes to Juday. To give 100% of Sarah Levison’s votes to Juday though is a stretch and pretty presumptuous.

The DeLay Factor: Zip, nada, zero. The people that hate Tom DeLay probably weren’t going to vote for Santos anyway. The people who already voted for Santo’s or have no problem with DeLay may have been offended by this stretch of “guilt by association”. Even if you spot a couple hundred votes for this, which is a couple hundred too many, doesn’t affect the outcome.

“Attack” Ad: Apparently, some voters (supposedly just Republicans) got a mailer that wasn’t too friendly towards Juday. I seriously thought it was a hoax or someone trying to “punk” Juday and his supporters. But apparently it really went out. Oddly enough a quote supposedly from my website was on it. I can’t remember where I saw that, but I sure didn’t write that quote and it wasn’t ever on my site. Anyway, who does this ad help/hurt? Those that were going to vote for Juday anyway – this only reinforces their feelings, and they probably didn’t receive it anyway, only heard about it. Those that would lean against Juday – this would reinforce them also, and they probably did receive it if it only went out to one party. So, stalemate? I don’t think so.

In today’s Times-Call they talked about voters by party affiliation. Increased Republican turnout (those receiving these ads) is a bad thing for Juday. These may be people that didn’t vote in November, and also probably people that were not happy with Lifebridge’s treatment, courtesy of Juday and his supporters. Many of these people probably don’t want to be Boulder Jr. either. Like this ad or hate it, I don’t remember ever seeing anything quite like it for a Longmont election, and its impact could be huge.

Final Days: Also in today’s paper were some political ads and op-eds by Santos and Juday. Juday’s ad said “Please, before responding to attack material”…visit his website for solid information. His editorial was titled ” Longmont deserves better“, not sure if he titled it or the Times-Call. I know the point was to say elections shouldn’t be so dirty, but the title implies what Longmont has now (in council or anywhere else) sucks. Yeah, voters like hearing that, being blamed for any and all ills. Juday spent much of his piece being on the defensive, not where a candidate wants to be in the final stretch. Add to that voluntarily not accepting donations and returning checks a week before the election? While it may be noble, I guess, signs and advertisements take money. If there’s a perception a candidate is throwing in the towel (not saying he is), most voters want to vote for a winner, not someone who wraps up his campaign before Election Day.

Santo’s editorial was titled ” Longmont‘s community cares” and the contrast between these two messages and these two editorials are worth some votes. Perhaps a lot of votes. I’m sure some detractor can find something to pick apart in Santo’s editorial, but it was fairly positive from start to finish. Let’s just see their last paragraphs, remember, these are sort of the closing arguments, they matter: Juday: “On my website you may see some corrections to distributed misinformation”. Santos: “I’m inspired by what I see, and I wish to give it back. I believe I am the right choice for City Council. I respectfully ask for your vote. If you have already voted for me, please accept my most sincere thank you.” Hey, it was longer, take out a sentence or two to make it even. End result is the same.

Conclusion: Based on the previous election, possible turnout, candidates actions, advertising (good and bad), signage, money, and intangibles, let me throw out this prediction: Santos 7,333 (48.6%) / Juday 6,144 (40.7%) / Baxter 1,509 (10%) / Write-in 100 (0.7%). Knowing that prediction alone could drive a few people to get their voting butts in gear, and knowing I could be all wet on those numbers and outcomes, there it is. Yep, another plurality, not a majority. And if 595 votes swap, different outcome.

I’d like to see some thoughtful prognostication(s?) (in other words, spare the wishful thinking). No one’s prediction should be held against them, unless they turn out to be clairvoyant geniuses! Can’t gamble, but can have bragging rights – until the next election.

Longmont Election ’07 update

This upcoming election will be a mail-in ballot election. You have to be registered by October 9th to receive a ballot. They can’t make it a whole lot easier, let’s see if we can bring up the low turnout numbers.

Here is an update of the candidates for Longmont City Council. Also, I want to share a link to a website I stumbled across that I thought was pretty informative.

http://community.livejournal.com/longmont/22611.html

It has a ward map, pictures of candidates, and something I haven’t touched on – ballot initiatives and school district candidates. I found this by accident, don’t know the author, and he doesn’t know I’m linking to it. But when I find something worth sharing, and/or when someone’s just done a better job, why not expose more people to it?

There have been a couple of changes to the candidates running:

Current council members Roger Lange, Karen Benker, and Doug Brown are the candidates for the position of Mayor. This is an at-large position, everyone in the city can vote for this spot.

One of the At-Large seats is up for grabs, the candidates are Gabe Santos, Paul Tiger, and Sarah Levison. Like the Mayor position, anyone can vote for this position.

Ward One Councilmember. To vote for this seat you must live in the ward. Aaron Rawlins, James DeVore, Brian Hansen are the candidates.

Ward Three Councilmember. Same rules apply as with Ward One. Sean McCoy and Bonnie Finley are running for this seat.

There are a lot of hot topics in this city. Figure out which ones are important to you and find out where the candidates stand on them. Instead of complaining that you were snookered by politicians after they’re in office, get your questions answered before you vote for them. This isn’t rocket science.

City Council Needs You!

November’s not that far away, and that means election time for Longmont’s City Council. We’re bound to see some new faces as three members are being term-limited out, and one won’t be seeking re-election. As in the past, I’ll put the candidates on my site so you can get to know them. Although I’ve yet to endorse anyone, which could be the kiss of death anyway, the more people involved, the bigger the turnout, the better. This is an off-year election, not a general election, so interest usually runs pretty low. But with the possibility of turning over the majority of City Council, we should pay attention.

First off, the Mayor position. Mayor Julia Pirnack is being term-limited out, and I thank her for her service. This is an at-large position, everyone in the city can vote for this spot, and anyone in the city can run. So far, current councilmembers Roger Lange, Karen Benker, and Doug Brown have announced they are running.

Ward One Councilmember
. This ward is generally the east-northeast side of town currently being served by Doug Brown, who is being term-limited out of his seat. To run or vote for this seat you must live in the ward. Aaron Rawlins has announced his candidacy.

Ward Three Councilmember
. This ward is generally the northwest side of town currently being served by Marty Block, also a member being term-limited out of his seat. Same rules apply as with Ward One. Sean McCoy and Bonnie Finley are running for this seat.

One of the at-large seats is held by Fred Wilson, and he is not seeking re-election. Like the Mayor position, anyone can run and vote for this position. Gabe Santos, and Paul Tiger are running for this position.

All I’m looking for from a prospective council member is accountability and accessibility to their constituents first, and their staff members second. Remember who runs this city, you, the council, not some of these staffers who hide behind you, safe from the voter’s wrath. Don’t look for new and interesting ways to spend our money with more taxes and fees. Find ways to get more value out of what we pay, and find ways to lessen that burden, all the while being fair to your employees.

Candidates: Speak your mind, get heard, and good luck.