Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Local Elections…Why Bother?
I am the last person you should consult about voting in local elections because I find them rather boring, so don’t follow my bad example. I hope our city has a large turnout for the municipal elections because if change is needed your vote will help bring that about. Now I will vote on local issues like building new schools or the “no smoking” policy. Perhaps that will change now that the League of Women Voters has brought the elections into the 21st century with their televised debates.I can watch the candidates from my comfortable recliner.
I am not a micromanaging type, so I have not or will I ever attend a county or city meeting of any sort. Remember don’t follow in my bad footsteps. I rely on the annual financial reports and what I read in our local newspapers. I don’t personally know the candidates so my opinion will vary from time to time based on what they say, but it keeps me from having a personal vendetta.
I have my own criteria for choosing a candidate to represent my wishes, and it’s not based on rumors, innuendo or unsubstantiated facts.Yes; a candidate's past performance is important but so is their vision for Victoria’s future. I certainly don’t want a single-issue candidate or one who is consumed with ideology.
I badly want my hometown to grow and not let opportunities go to other cities because of some misguided ideology of “austerity only.”I believe a city must use all the available and necessary tools, and sometimes that means partnering with the private sector and using enticements like abatements. I began taking notice when some local council members started echoing the talking points of a national party.
I’m going to be completely honest in my assessment of our local candidate based on what I have read in our local newspaper knowing full well it’s my opinion and fully admitting that I am one of those city election low information voters.
I’m going to start with Russell Pruitt, who is running for a seat in Super District, Place 6 currently occupied by Tom Halepaska. I am not that big of a fan of Tom Halepaska, but he’s much more open-minded than Pruitt. Russell is a long-time tax protester and what I call a single-issue candidate who is consumed with ideology. Russell Pruitt issued a very misleading statement when he said that he sees Victoria heading the way of Detroit, a city now strapped by financial mismanagement, apples to oranges Mr. Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt’s poorly structured website doesn’t mention growth or vision for my hometown. It’s just a single page of three pledges, but it’s really only two since” vote for lower taxes” and “vote against wasteful spending of tax dollars” amount to the same thing.” His other pledge is not to become a “ good old boy” whatever that means because that can have several meanings.
I’m going to wait on the televised debates before I comment on the mayor’s race. I can say that for me I will have to decide between Polasek or Armstrong because the other candidates haven’t impressed me.
I want end this segment by posting some great comments I heard the candidates say and also some that were very strange.
For the life of me,I don’t know what former councilman Gabriel Soliz was thinking when he said "I honestly don't believe that whites hate Mexicans in Victoria," Soliz said. "When I ran, there were plenty of white people with Anglo descent who voted for me." He then said “he is running to break stereotypes and be a positive example for Hispanics.” Those are the most stupidest comments that I have ever heard from a local candidate. His biggest claim to fame was that he toed the conservative line with his votes. I don’t have an interest in that race but I liked the words of Councilman Truman when he said” this is the third oil boom he has seen during his time in Victoria, and he wants to come up with long-term plans to keep the economic growth going.
"I don't want to anticipate a bust, but eventually it does happen," Truman said. "We need to come up with sustainable industries that will keep our hotel rooms filled and keep Victoria growing."
I’m confident that the council will stay within its means because no politician wants to be part of the reason a city gets cash- strapped and has to raise taxes and lay off people. We currently have a $20 million reserve fund; a AA bond rating;business seems to be booming;interest rates and materials are low, so our city doesn’t have to operate as though it’s going broke tomorrow. With that in mind, we should be thinking more about the future of our city when deciding our priorities. It’s not always about what appears on the yearly financial reports because I believe the new schools, improved roads, and an open-minded city council is conductive to having new businesses consider our city their new home.
There were a few candidates I didn’t mention because their view points were similar to those of the others.
These are my personal views and I certainly won’t try to pretend that I represent the views of Victoria,Texas.