Monday, May 01, 2006

Vote Early, Vote Often

Early voting started today. I went in shortly after 12 noon and was number 39 on the roster.
Am I going to tell you who I voted for and why? You betcha! But first...

The Median is JUST ONE OF MANY ISSUES!

I saw the ads suggesting that voters should make their decisions based solely on whether or not the candidate supports the median project. As if that is the only issue that will impact our community in the next two years! What a crock....

Personally, I do not feel strongly one way or the other about the median plan. To all those who scream DRAINAGE PROBLEMS!!! I would say this: can you remember the last time Padre Blvd. flooded? And for how long it remained inpassible? Was it more than for an hour or three? I grew up in a place where sometimes so much snow fell that school got cancelled and folks had to stay home from work for a day or two and -- you know what? The world did not end! If we can fix the drainage problem, excellent! but as far as I am concerned, this is a non-issue.

Will businesses suffer if vehicles have to go an extra block or two to access them? Studies suggest not. Will the blvd look nicer? Undoubtedly. Will the enhanced blvd. be safer for pedestrians? Studies certainly suggest so. Is it going to be expensive? Absolutely. Can we trust our elected officials to carefully study all factors, listen to viewpoints from all affected business owners and then do the best thing for the greater good of SPI?

I believe we can.

Okay, so you hate SPIRIT. Now why not just answer the questions?

I gotta say it again - I am hugely disappointed that so few of the candidates have participated in the online forum at spispirit.org. What are they afraid of? Why won't they share their views in a place where everyone can read them? So what if you aren't a fan of SPIRIT? That's like not going to sand castle days because you like Coppertone better than Banana Boat. It makes zero sense not to take advantage of this excellent communications tool. And since I believe that all the candidates are basically rational, I am going to suggest that these candidates are not participating because they are scared of committing themselves IN WRITING to viewpoints that can be thrown back at them at some later date. It is all too easy to speak off the cuff at a pachanga - to say what you are pretty sure the person you are talking to wants to hear and which you can disavow as a simple misunderstanding if need be somewhere down the road.

On the other hand, you know that what a candidate writes on the online forum is going to be read, re-read and quoted by a wider spectrum of voters. Some aren't going to like what you have to say and they will throw your words back at you someday and you will not be able to disavow them because there is a written record. It takes courage and commitment to take a stand in this type of forum, and I applaud the candidates who are taking the time and effort to communicate their views with us.

(Now, if any of the candidates who are _not participating have a better reason for shunning the forum, I would be very happy to publish that explanation right here.)

Surprise Surprise This is How I Voted

Alderman

I voted for Fred and JoAnn - primarily because I am convinced that they will do the best job of representing the interests of the residents. Sure, the needs of the business owners are also important and will necessarily factor into their actions because there is a lot of overlap: I am just one of many residents who make a living off the tourists who visit here. For that reason, I want a city government that will promote the island, protect its most precious resources (what attracts the tourists and future residents here in the first place) and maintain a climate conducive to doing business . However, quality of life - the place I get to hang out when I am not working - trumps every other consideration in my book.

I believe that Fred and JoAnn are free agents who are not beholden to any particular factions. I believe that they both will work hard to protect the beach, the bay and the charm of the existing residential neighborhoods. I perceive them as being intelligent and informed, and I believe that they both have the requisite "people skills" that help form consensus and create the coalitions necessary for moving forward with large projects.

Mayor

I voted for Bob Pinkerton. This was a tough decision for me to make because I am very fond of Joe Buck and consider him a friend (and I sure hope he still considers me a friend in spite of the fact that I am not supporting his bid for mayor.)

People who know me well know that I have not always been a fan of Mayor Pinkerton, and there is much that I still do not agree with him about. However, I have been to enough BOA meetings to develop a better understanding of the Mayor's job and an appreciation for the skills required to keep things moving along, while still giving folks from all sides of any given issue the opportunity to air their opinions; to smile and be polite when the crazy people want to talk; to maintain your cool under pressure and to calm ruffled feathers; to be able to sit through shitloads of boring meetings and not look like you'd rather be fishing.

Bob does a pretty good job of it, and he has my vote.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Durn, you getting smart. You be earning my COMPLETE respect, if you ain't careful.

Will

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Sandy! Great column. I agree with you 100% I have already voted for Joann, Fred and Bob. Thanks for a terrific site! Jackie Brady

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Bob Weiss said...

Hi Sandy,

For once I wholeheartedly agree with you about the election. Joe Buck is a neighbor of mine and a fine human being, just not up to the calibre of the others, not his fault. Phil Money, if he would ditch Clayton, it would do his credibility wonders, and the others just aren't deserving. Except for Bob, JoAnn, and Fred, the others all but came out and said that they were preparing to vote down all of the changes and the comprehensive plan if necessary. Bob Pinkerton demonstrates excellant skills as mayor, even if I don't agree with him about everything, he still gets my vote, we are fortunate to have such a knowledgable mayor!

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sandy for a wonderful column. You've said it all. Those who won't participate in the forum, just don't want their "promises" coming back at them. Trust in our governing members is of the essence in this , and all, elections.

Yes, new regulations might pinch a little in the short term, but in the long run, it will help the island succeed on all levels, if we put in the very much needed infrastructure now.

We're talking preserving our natural resources, and insuring a good steady, controlled growth for everyone on the island

Anne Weiss

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your well stated comments, Sandy. I hope more voters will care enough to study each candidate and what they stand for. I,too, like the fact that Fred and JoAnn neither one have ties to any group. I feel they would represent all and do what they trully feel is best for our island.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Don Adams said...

It amazes me that those who are for better communications are the ones that will not participate in the forums designed to enhance communicating! Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing! Beware of single issue candidates!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need people running our beloved town who research and understand the depths and convolutions of government, seeking to look at all sides of issues before making judgements. I believe that Joann, Fred, and Bob have those skills and abilities.

And thanks Sandy for providing your opinion blog for everyone!

5:22 PM  
Blogger nancy said...

Well written (as always!). I agree with you all the way and will be voting the same. Have fun in California and don't forget to write!

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to be the only one disagreeing however, if people think Jo Ann Evans has no ties they are misinformed. She is very closely aligned with the, "Spirit Group."

If you want a voting majority on the BOA, who will spend your property tax dollars wildly, elect Joe Ann and Fred. With Ridolfi, you have the voting majority.

I agree with your choice for Mayor.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

It is easy to make such allegations anonymously, isn't it? No one can call you on it and you need not take any responsibility for your words.

Seems rather cowardly to me.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other words, it is OK to post anonymously, as long as you agree with those other anonymous posters, who agreed with you? Fair and balanced Sandy????

6:02 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

I don't have to be fair and balanced -- but the point is no one else posted an anonymous and unsubstantiated accusation against a candidate.

(You want "fair and balanced"? Watch fox news or start your own blog. Oops - that would mean identifying yourself, wouldn't it?)

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The, Island Breeze had an interesting article yesterday, on contributions to candidates. A $500 dollar contribution to Joe Ann Evans from, "Spirit," founder Barbara Church and another $500 contribution from Alderman Rick Ridolfi. I rest my case.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Just because candidate is supported by SPIRIT members doesn't mean s/he won't make a good alderman.

Anyways, in just a few hours it will all be over. I hope someone calls me here in Canada with the results.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

To Mr. Anonymous - Someone once said about this island “just because someone says something, does not make it true” (sound familiar?). That certainly seems to apply here. Here are the facts about SPIRIT:

** SPIRIT was the idea of Lori Suissa who brought in Barbara, Pam Downing and a dozen or so others.

** That group had ONE (1) planning meeting to get organized and decide if there was sufficient interest in forming a civic group. Every new group, club or organization has
to have such a planning meeting before they can officially organize

** After the initial planning meeting, every other meeting has been advertised to the public. The Board of Aldermen have been publicly invited (all but one have attended, and yesterday he was not re-elected). You were specifically invited, Mr. Anonymous, although, to my knowledge you have not attended. It is easy to sit on the outside with no facts and criticize something you do not know first hand, but it is not very admirable.

** The meetings are publicized in the Community Calendar of the PI/SPI Press, and there have been several newspaper articles in which is was clearly stated that the group is open to the public. The well publicized website (spispirit.org) also makes it clear it is open to the public.

** SPIRIT functions as a civic club and the goals are clearly stated and have been made public. It is to make SPI a better place to live, do business and visit. We only ask that
people generally agree with our goals and stay positive and constructive. We are about community service.

** SPIRIT is pro-business, pro-tourism and pro-environment. And yes, that means the Town must sometimes INVEST money to improve and preserve the place so that people will want to visit and make their homes here. Such INVESTMENTS produce returns many times over. Many people are tired of this same old “no spending” rhetoric which has caused this Island to stay far behind other resort areas and has prevented a better quality of life for residents. The results of this election proves this. And PLEASE do not, yet again, throw taxes in our faces. This Town has a lower tax rate than the vast majority of municipalities in Texas.

** One of SPIRIT’s goals is to inform and educate people on FACTS, such as
the taxes. In a recent meeting, charts and figures were provided, so folks now know exactly where their tax monies go. They saw what portion goes to the Town versus the County, School Board and other entities

** While SPIRIT is non-partisan, just like Rotary Club, churches, professional organizations, etc., people still have the Constitutional right to exercise their political rights OUTSIDE of those organizations. We simply do not endorse or support candidates. We do support issues which are consistent with our goals, after they have been thoroughly researched, just like the League of Women Voters.

** But, the best thing about SPIRIT, Inc., Mr. Anon., is it is here to stay. We have 130 or so participants, we have incorporated and we get new people at almost every meeting. So, get used to it or better yet, change your attitude and join us.

The election is over; why not just settle down and live peaceably with your neighbors all over the Island, including those you do not agree with. It is possible to have differences of opinion without things becoming personal and contentious.

I challenge you to attend a SPIRIT meeting. The next one is on June 20, 7:00 p.m. at the La Quinta. Since we know who you are, we will know if you attend. In this meeting, speakers will present the history of SPI and welcome newcomers to the Island in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you, Sandy, for providing this forum. You are welcome to use the SPIRIT website to promote your ventures. They are consistent with our goals to promote tourism.

Jeff Church

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandy, I find it interesting that Jeff Church, Barbara Church's husband, both SPIRIT Group Members, said he knows, supposedly who posted an anonymous post on your WEB-SITE. How would he know that information? If a post on your site is not anonymous why not state same, and everyone would have to identify themselves? By the way I do watch, "Fox News," and receive (fair & Balanced) both sides of an issue.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Anonymous is exactly what it seems to be. I have no way of tracking anyone down who decides to post anonymously and can only presume that Mr. Church is making an educated guess based on the post itself.

I could say something not so nice about Foc news here but am having a mellow and happy northern California day and chose not to go there.

8:57 PM  

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