Saturday, October 13, 2007

See, this is how it works - Updated

Like I said in the last post, candidates are welcome/encouraged to contact me if they need to respond to something in the comments. Bill Harvey has taken me up on the offer, with very good reason. As Mr. Harvey says:

I did not say anything to anyone about city employees and their future with the city other than this - which I have said (and will continue to say) publicly -- I will assume that every employee who works for the city is the best qualified person for their position until (a) I review their personnel records (b) I interview them and their supervisor and (c) I make my own determination reqarding their qualifications.

I don’t expect this to be something I will do quickly since, as I said, I am assuming the people who work for the city today are qualified. I also believe that these steps will be taken by anyone who would be elected. It is just good management.

The need for clarification arises because (pay attention) an anonymous commenter claims that another candidate had deliberately mischaracterized Mr. Harvey's position. While some people might have interpreted that accusation as simply an attack on that other candidate, the result was to inject that mischaracterization into the public discourse, creating the need to refute it. There's no independent evidence that the other candidate ever actually talked about Mr. Harvey's position (accurately or otherwise), so it is entirely possible that the anonymous commenter was going for a two-fer, smearing multiple candidates simultaneously.

As I've said, I'm more than happy to do it when asked, but I really don't want posts like this to have to become a regular feature, so please play nice.

Update - Matt Lampke has also sent a note regarding recent anonymous allegations:

I have run a positive campaign and am focusing on my ideas for Bexley's future and on the public and community service I have performed for Bexley in the past. I am committed to being your Mayor for the next twenty years if the Bexley residents will have me. If anyone would like to go to the source with their questions or concerns, please contact me at 231-8172 or by e-mail at

On Comments

Every few months I do a version of this post. As we approach Election Day it seems I need a re-run:

1) I allow any comments that are not spam, and I allow you to post them without leaving your identity.

2) If I could require that you at least use a pseudonym, I would, but I can't, so I will simply ask nicely and encourage strongly: If you don't want to use your actual name/nickname, don't choose "anonymous" when leaving a comment. Choose "other," and make up a name. I don't care what the name is, it could be 'anon1' for all I care. When you post anonymously, people reply anonymously, and then you get comments like "I agree with anonymous that anonymous doesn't understand what anonymous is trying to say, but anonymous does have a point." Please don't start conversations like that here.

Special NOTE!! There is no known-to-me limit on what name can be chosen. It is always good to be suspicious of the contents of anonymous postings, you should also be cautious about assuming posts from individuals with real names are actually posted by the flesh-and-bone person with that name. For instance, if someone named "David Madison" posted a mayoral endorsement in the comments, you can pretty much assume it's an impostor.

3) For those who are inexperienced at internet forums (like comment threads in blogs), it is almost always better to leave the trolls/cranks/etc. alone. Do not engage. They don't care about reasoned debate, they care about pushing agendas and/or picking fights. You don't really want to help them. You will be tempted, and on occasion you will give into that temptation. Then you will remember why people keep giving you this advice.

I say this now in particular because there have been some sensationalist and rumor-mongering type hits on some of the candidates that have been left as comments on this blog. When I read a blog, and a post has only one comment, I sometimes read the comment. If it has 10 comments, I will definitely check out the comments. Taking on the cheap shots only tends to help the cheap shot artist.

If a campaign would like to respond to such a commenter, however, they can email me, and I'll try to get them front page space if they want it.

4) It should go without saying, but I don't endorse any comments, nor do I necessarily even like the presence of any particular comment, unless I specifically say that I do. I do like to encourage readers to comment and converse, so I take the bad with the good. A lot of good discussions have taken place in the comments here.

5) Finally, I would like to congratulate Bexley on the cleanliness of the campaign so far. I got an email from someone in another suburb who had created a brand new anonymous email account from a computer at their public library for the sole apparent purpose of mailing embarrassing legal records regarding a candidate out to bloggers. That's the sort of thing that leaves a grimy film on every one involved. I'm not a fan of some of the anonymous comments here at BB, but it's nothing compared to that kind of sliminess.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Video from the Bexley C of C Mayoral Forum

Time Warner Cable will at some point have video from the entire event available on the Local-On-Demand channel (our consolation prize for not having the Big Ten Network, perhaps?), but until then I have this: One of the questions asked of the candidates was "How do we persuade residents with modest incomes to stay in Bexley?" I really like this type of question, as it is just left-field enough to elicit meaningful but unscripted answers that really give you some insight into the thoughts and values of the candidates. So I took video of the responses.

The videos kind of suck, and the audio is worse, but each of the candidates responses (in the order they gave them) are below:

Scott Weinblatt

Bill Minckler

Matt Lampke and Gene Weiss

Travis Irvine, Bill Harvey, Robyn Jones, and John Brennan

The Columbus Messenger already has a story up on their website. Reading their version of events leads me to believe that I really did say just about everything I needed to say in last night's post. So on and up.

Mayor's Forum, The Quick and Dirty

Good turnout. Matt Lampke won the initial impressions by having 5-10 people with his T-Shirt on in a room of 150-200 people. That stands out when t-shirts are scarce. Then the room grew to 200-250, SRO.

I've burned up all my energy trying to get a couple of video clips together. That's pretty much failed, but you should be able to take a look at some of the works in progress by searching YouTube for bluebexley(if you put 'em on your ipod you can even rotate them to the proper orientation all on your own).

In the meantime, pending a real report here which may or may not ever come, my conventional wisdom meter highly distorted personal sense of the race says that Lampke and/or Jones could have made themselves the favorite, but neither gave a knockout performance. Scott Weinblatt has to be commended for trying to make a real run at age 18, but he's trying a bit too hard to sound credible. Harvey and Brennan are both pretty traditional candidates for this type of race, and there were no surprises either way, there. Gene Weiss? Something about Mr. Weiss rubbed me a bit wrong. I can't put my finger on it, really, I'll have to catch the video on cable.

So the winners: Bill Minckler did well for himself, perhaps gaining back some of the early momentum, but clearly the best performance relative to expectations was Travis Irvine's. He's intelligent, knows the issues, and has near-perfect comic timing. That's still probably not going to be enough to win him this election, but the guy's got a future, and who knows?

So, FYI, everybody thinks we need fewer consultants, more alcohol at Jeffrey Mansion, and no new taxes. If those are your issues, you can't go wrong.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Forum Tonight

Just a reminder that all eight Bexley mayoral candidates will be answering questions in a structured environment tonight at our beautiful Public Library at Cassady and Main. Festivities start at 7pm, you're advised to be a bit early.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Psst - Obama's coming for cheap, too

In the inbox:

Friday, October 26
Columbus Convention Center
11 AM
Doors Open at 10:30 AM
General Admission $30
Students $15

Sign Up to Attend: under Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In case you've forgotten, our governor is a psychologist

Not much you didn't know here, but Ted Strickland is a bit of a hero to the APA, as he is the first psychologist to head up a state government. They invited him to speak at their conference, which he did, and they interviewed him for the Monitor, which goes out to tens of thousands of researchers, students, and clinicians. He talks about mental health parity, the scientific method, and a disturbing letter from the parents of a bullying victim.

Just an FYI.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Races in Other Communities

Besides Bexley, there are several other Central Ohio municipalities that are also holding elections for Mayor and City Council. One of these is a town called Columbus, and this weekend I was invited to sit down with some guy named Coleman and chat with him and a few other folks about the race there.

Seriously, Jerid of BSB worked with the Mayoral and Council campaigns to have Columbus bloggers like Walker Evans (Columbus Underground), Paul Bonneville (Columbus RetroMetro), and the guys from the 270 and ColumbusIng do a Meet-The-Bloggers style forum with Mayor Michael Coleman, followed shortly by a group interview with Council members Mentel, Tavares, Ginther, and Craig. I was lucky enough to end up on the invite list, and on Saturday I went back to the old stomping grounds in the Short North. TryFresh/FreshLabs, a web innovation company, hosted in their very trendy office space.

The conversation with Mayor Coleman was a whole lot more interesting than I expected it to be. To be honest, the one time that I had met the mayor before, he seemed to be completely somewhere else. Looking back at the timeline, I can't really hold that against him, but it made for a pleasant surprise Saturday when he latched on to questions and was obviously very engaged in the conversation.

There's supposed to be audio and/or video available either soon or already, but by way of highlights most of the conversation dealt with downtown, which is what the Columbus blogging community tends to be focused on. In particular, Mayor Coleman was animated about the Streetcar project, and talked about the benefits of connecting the students to downtown. For those of you who don't obsess on transit issues, you may be surprised that this part of the conversation caused a mild tension at the table, which Walker Evans eventually jumped in and made explicit: No version of the streetcar proposal had ever brought the line north of Buttles - 12 blocks south of Campus. Mayor Coleman's response was the big "scoop" of the day, that meetings this week had led to the conclusion that any future proposal would run north to campus (although possibly at the expense of the proposed southern portion of the route. Mayor Coleman mentioned that it was making more sense to wait for a finalized I70/71 plan through downtown before proposing how a streetcar line would cross the new freeway).

Of course, as Mayor Coleman was quick to mention, streetcars are an exciting but currently unfunded idea. Without the cash, the changes in the proposal don't mean much in the short term.

When my turn to ask a question came up, I specifically moved the conversation away from downtown and over here to the Eastside. I thanked him for the bulldozers at Woodland Meadows, and asked: So what now? The answer: Good Question. In a nutshell, the city does not own the Woodland Meadows property, the city would love to work with a new owner, it may take a while to get a new owner, because Jorge Newbery has many debts and needs to maximize what he can squeeze out of his assets, so we wait. I asked if there was anything the city could do to make the property more attractive to potential buyers, and his reply brought a quick laugh: "I think I already have." He clarified the quip, though, and I was glad. The humorous interpretation was that he simply got rid of the ugliness. The real meaning of the remark was that the net result of the demolition project was probably 2-3 million dollars in market value for the property. In effect, this is cash into Mr. Newbery's pocket, but worth the expense, especially if the benefits go beyond removing the blight and into facilitation of re-development.

Like I said, we had questions, he had answers. When time ran out, he asked for more. I for one was sincerely flattered.

Afterward, I got distracted and missed out on most of my courtesy lunch, but used the opportunity to let Charleta Tavares know that I knew she lived in neighboring Berwick, as Berwick's in the 12th... and I've located nearly every prominent politician in the 12th. That still flusters people for some reason. I also ascertained that Hearcel Craig remembered baby C., and chatted with him about the screaming pic I had put up in his defense. I was glad I got the chance to chat, as the roundtable with the Council Crew was not really conducive to that kind of interaction.

All 4 of the Council Members present were competent and impressive, but I was especially impressed with Council President Mentel. He took my first out-of-the-blue question (the city has explicitly stated that it wants to be more competetive for major conventions and meetings - what are the near term projects supporting that goal?) and listed off direct and indirect actions being taken by the city. It wasn't the content so much as the confidence. Later, when asked about the strategy of running against one-party-rule, a tack being taken by some of their opponents, Andrew Ginther gave an answer much like I might, saying that the issue has never really been one party rule, that the problem was corruption, and that one-party-rule was basically necessary but not sufficient for corruption, etc. Mentel took the mic and said Democrats have a long and excellent record of stewardship of this city. Columbus is the success story of the Midwest. He is proud of what Council has accomplished, he is proud to work with the Mayor as a partner, and he is proud of the teamwork on the Council. If that's what the Republicans say they want to change, let 'em run on that platform.


So anyway, that's the campaign off in the land of Columbus. I'd like to thank everyone, including the organizers, hosts, campaign staffs, fellow bloggers and the candidates. It was fun. Here in Bexley, the lawn signs exploded over the weekend. Lampke is dominating that race, although some streets are overwhelmingly Brennan (my next door neighbor has one of each). Interviewing the big guns may be fun, but you've got to love the races here in the enclave.