Friday, November 02, 2007

More Multi-Media

It's easy to like a candidate when they are a likable person, and they are careful not to take any concrete positions. It's easy to like a candidate who takes likable, popular stands on issues. Then you've got Ben Kessler, a likable guy who says you should vote for him because he takes concrete stands on issues, some of which he has a pretty good idea won't be universally loved.

Judge for yourself. I've run into a bunch of people who have been impressed with Mr. Kessler, and I sat down with him this week to discuss his run for City Council. I'm not always sure I'm in agreement with him, but I've been impressed myself. He's the only candidate among the five who has never sat on the council, but he's been attending meetings and doing homework. It shows in the interview, which, although it spanned a number of issues from retail development to politics and campaigning, I've edited down to one question: How would you balance Bexley's budget?

You can hear Ben's (15 minute) answer here. As I summarized at the end, he's talking about increasing staff productivity, re-benchmarking budgets to 3% annual growth from 2004 levels, and engaging in long-term planning to increase the accuracy of budget forecasting, but if you want details, go to his website or grab your headphones and listen to the audio.


Lewis and/or Gilbert said...

I've also met Ben Kessler, and may well vote for him myself with one of my votes. But the timing and tone (somewhere between fawning and genuine admiration) of the post comes off a lot like an endorsement. If that's what it is, you should just say it.

Over the last couple of months, you've walked a fine line between being objective and...well...and I don't envy your job here, since it can't be easy suddenly changing a partisan blog into one that gives facts about all candidates.

But, let's face it, you're clearly promoting one council candidate over the others here. And the article at least implies either that the other four have not been accessible to you to talk about the issues or that you have chosen not to extend them the same courtesy you have given Kessler. That is being not objective.

Verdad said...

Hey bonobo-any update coming for us on the mayor forum last night?

bonobo said...

G and/or L, Did I slip into fawning? That certainly wasn't supposed to happen. That's also a good part of why I try to post the candidates' own words and let you come to your own conclusions. I'm not trying to be objective here, though, I'm trying to be subjective (it is my personal opinion) but fair (basing my opinion on evidence). That being said, I have two biases: 1) My focus on candidates here at BB has become directly related to the engagement the candidate has made with me or the website. Candidates who approached me or responded to verbal invitations are my priorities when arranging things like these interviews. 2) I have a harder time voicing, and sometimes even holding, negative opinions about statements that are made sincerely and directly to me. It's why I can't stand watching the Democratic Presidential Candidates' debates much more than I can stand watching the Republicans (both tend to be orgies of canned sound bites), and why I've declined to take a partisan stand in the local races (because it would facilitate canned sound bites).

What this means in terms of the City Council race is this: I have not had any contact whatsoever with any candidate whose last name begins with M. I don't just mean as a blogger, I mean the file I keep with campaign lit handed out, mailed, or dropped on my porch by the candidates has nothing from them in it. Two of them could be forgiven, I suppose, if they feel I should be familiar enough with their work on the council, and the accessibility during meetings, but one of them hasn't held office since before I was a resident. I'm not endorsing anybody in this race, because I can't tell you that I think these three are better or worse than the people I've talked to directly. I do have a positive opinion of the heretofore unmentioned fifth candidate, but I haven't really had a chance to discuss policy at all with him. Given the time and resources, I could well imagine giving a fawning review to all five of them. My plate is pretty full through Tuesday, however, and their are no more council candidates on it, so I don't imagine I will.