Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Insiders (No, Literally, Insiders!) Want to Keep Control

One of the rites of Jackson County politics is the camp-out the night before the filing deadline for County races, in an attempt to gain the first spot on the ballot. This year, the silliness fell apart into a display of temper, whining, and favoritism. None of those things are new to Jackson County politics, but it's disheartening to see them displayed so prominently in the pregame show.

The dirty secret is that people who have connected friends, or who are incumbents, get to enter the building early. Simply stated, the system is unfair and undignified. Jackson Countians deserve a better system.

Theresa Garza Ruiz has a better way. She is proposing a lottery system, so that ballot position is decided by chance among those who file on the first day. “It needs to be a level playing field, and this is the way to do it," Ruiz claims. This is the same system that created rare agreement in the thread about the Sheriff's race that sprung up (strangely enough) under my post about Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island.

Of course, it's impossible to disagree with her, right?

Not surprisingly, a few "insiders" prefer the system that makes regular people wait out in the cold. Henry Rizzo and Dan Tarwater have said that the current system works fine for people with special courthouse access, and, since they have it, they see no need to change.

“The only ones unhappy about it are the ones who couldn’t get in early to file,” said Dennis Waits, the chairman of the legislature. In other words, who cares about the losers that don't have Dennis Waits to sneak them in the back door?

The current legislators have courthouse access, but the rest of us don't. They and their friends have an advantage that they have used to play games with our ballots. We should not allow their gamesmanship to continue.

The proposal by Ruiz is a sensible one. She is taking a small but important step against cronyism and "insider" politics (literally). Any legislator who opposes this proposal announces clearly that he is prefers insider games.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is time Kackson County track what the rest of the State is doing.
Ballot Placement:
First day filers will select a number by random drawing to determine placement on the primary ballot. After the first day, candidates will be placed on the ballot in the order of their filing.


3/19/2008 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a real good idea.

3/19/2008 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea? Are you crazy? What is the point of being an insider if I can't hijack the outsiders' ability to compete on an even playing field? If I have to compete fairly, why would I want to compete at all? Get a life anonymous. This is Jackson County politics, not democracy in action.

Henry Waitswater

3/19/2008 5:56 PM  
Blogger Spyder said...

She's a smart cookie!

3/19/2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Henry Waitswater....

That is hilarious.

Dan, that should be the quote of the year for your blog.

3/19/2008 8:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Craig -

The best stuff is ALWAYS in the comments. My job is to provide a starting point for the others to riff off of . . .

3/19/2008 9:03 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Quick question, half serious/half smart-aleck.
Why has the CCP not blogged a story about this? Could it be that they have a vested interest in the incumbents?
Just wondering.

3/21/2008 6:46 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm pretty sure there's no great conspiracy - I just posted my piece here, and the topic didn't grab the attention of the others.

3/21/2008 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Craig's point is that the CCP is suppose to for reforming county government. Their website says that "The CCP is a Democratic political reform organization established in 1964 to reform and restructure Jackson County government." I guess 1964 says it all.

3/21/2008 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Wake Up and Live with It said...

The CCP is about CONTROLLING and not reforming county government.

The endorsement will go to John Bullard, who CCP President and Dan have endorsed.

3/23/2008 9:20 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Wake up -

Your comment is truly hilarious. The CCP controls very little, and my influence on the organization is almost zilch. But if you prefer to believe that the CCP is a secretly powerful organization brokering every political move in the area, and I am a super-powerful insider masterminding it all, I suppose I should be flattered.

3/24/2008 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just in case anyone is interested in the truth - CCP has not endorsed anyone in the Sheriff's race. Screenings are scheduled in late April and the endorsement vote isn't until June. So you'll have to wait to see who CCP actually endorses.

3/24/2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for providing that clarification - I should have done the same. I should also point out that persons with known preferences for candidates should not participate in the screening committees. I will not be participating in the AG or Sheriff or 44th District screenings.

3/24/2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger craig said...

I didn't mean to imply that the CCP was up to anything sinister. Actually, my first thought was that there was nothing on the CCO blog at Theresa's request, since she is a member and would not want to seem like she was tooting her own horn.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have much use for the CCP, except that their blog gives me some sort of perverse pleasure to anonymously call out Bough and Cardarella when they are being thickheaded, partisan hacks.

3/24/2008 7:26 PM  

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