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A view of leadership on our candidates

Citizens of Baldwin After a very long absence from the public eye I feel strongly about this election and decided it was important to share a unique view of two of the candidates for Mayor. I support Ken Wagner for a number of reasons. The most important one is that he is the most qualified and decisive candidate for the office of Mayor. The mayor of a city has to be a leader. This is especially true in a city where the Mayor serves a four year term and has responsibilities that are more ingrained with the day to day operations of a city. Unlike Lawrence the mayor serves a one year term and the position rotates among the council. This means that the Mayor in our situation ends up being more of a CEO than a voting member of a council that happens to hold the office of mayor for one year. This person has to be hands on and show leadership. If the mayor takes a hands off approach to the job then metaphorically speaking the ship has no rudder or sense of direction and as a city we flounder. People of Baldwin we are floundering and have been for the past 4 years. This is not to say that good things have not been accomplished over the past four years. But a mayors job as I see it is to lay out a road map of where our city is going, and then set it in motion. We don’t have a map or sense of direction.

The unique view that I mentioned about two of the candidates for mayor before comes from serving with Ken and George on the City Council. In the first 20 months before George’s early exit from the council, we dealt with some very large, complicated, unpopular and potentially explosive issues. These issues dealt with police issues, lack of power in the city, failing water towers, crumbling infrastructure, and two bridges in need of replacement. We had in those 20 months a huge amount of meetings both public and in executive session dealing with all these issues. The unique view I speak of comes from seeing these two perform under stress. And one stands head and shoulders above the other. And the taller one by far is Ken Wagner. Ken dealt with the stress of the situation. He did not waiver in his convictions of what was right and what was wrong. He did not pander to either side in a situation but took his position seriously and made clear, well considered decisions. All of the cliché phrases come to mind of character, honor, sense of duty, and focus when I recall how these two dealt with a variety of situations. And again Ken finishes well ahead in all of these categories. To put it bluntly Ken was more concerned about doing what was right for the people of Baldwin, and not his personal popularity. Ken is in every sense of the word a tested leader and when situations got difficult he proved it time and again. There is an old phrase about a person and how they deal with adversity. It goes something like “when the steel starts to fly some people lean into it, brave it, refuse to quit. And others melt, and duck for cover.” Ken didn’t seek cover, he stood out there with his fellow council members and braved it out. Popular or unpopular, right or wrong, he did not fail the people of Baldwin whether they voted for him or not.

Now I can hear the sharp knives of the speakout folks being ground to a razor like edge on my comments. I felt it was necessary to share my observations on the concept of leadership that these two have displayed over the past 8 years both public and private in this city. I have read the accusations leveled at the one candidate and then the counter allegations pointed back at the other. Although sad to see it is a reality of the political process. I am not going to get into those accusations or slinging of mud. I will say though that with one candidate in particular that with a lot of the accusations, where you see smoke, you will find fire. If anyone wants to discuss these issues in person or via phone, I am in the phone book and clearly listed address I will be more than happy to discuss them one on one. I don’t think it is appropriate to do so in this venue.

Whichever candidate you support please don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. It is just as important to participate in the process as it is to have an opinion.

Ken Hayes

April 4, 2009

Candidates for Mayor

Comments

cranky 5 years, 5 months ago

"I will say though that with one candidate where there is smoke there is fire". Oh, but you weren't going to get into the accusations or mud slinging.

I'm sure Ken is just as tired as the rest of us are that his supporters insist on tearing the other candidate down. He's smart enough to know there's a backlash to that.

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puck 5 years, 5 months ago

As if there isn't dirt to be slung in his direction either.

Good grief.

I will be glad when the election, and all the silly signs, are over.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

Good to hear your thoughts on this election, Ken. When you were mayor, I always appreciated your willingness to state your true opinion here and elsewhere, instead of BSing people and saying what they wanted to hear--or pussyfooting around your actual thoughts, as so many politicians do.

Cranky, if you disagree with the concerns many have expressed about Mr McCrary's suitability for office, kindly share with us whatever proof you have that those concerns are groundless. If the gentleman did not resign midway into his council term, do, please, tell us why we all carry the delusion that he did. Give us some solid reason to believe he won't do the same thing as mayor if the going gets tough.

Also, if he is an excellent businessman and financial manager, by all means elaborate for us so we will know how his business acumen will benefit the city when he becomes mayor. For instance, discuss how quick he is to make repairs and keep all equipment and services running smoothly at his business, so his customers can get their money's worth. (If you're having any trouble composing your thoughts, why not mull it over while enjoying a relaxing steam room session at BAC?)

Refuting people's concerns with what you view as fact would do a lot more than leveling accusations of mudslinging and dirty politics. Mudslinging generally involves trafficking in lies. If lies have been told, go ahead--set them straight.

But if people's concerns are based in truth, they have a right to air them--and that does not constitute mudslinging. If the man can't run a business decently and makes bad investments, I, for one, don't think he'd make a good mayor, no matter how nice and decent a person he may be. This is not a 5th grade popularity contest.

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flying26u 5 years, 5 months ago

GEORGE signs decorate Baldwin like CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

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cranky 5 years, 5 months ago

My side of the steam room works perfectly. ; )

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moe 5 years, 5 months ago

again, GEORGE signs don't mean squat when you just agreed to put the sign in your yard to get the guy off your back.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

Cranky--just going by what I've been told (over a long period of time) by disgruntled club members--some of whom have let their memberships lapse over the issue.

Again, though, if you have any logical explanation for George's lack of commitment (council resignation) or his muddled business dealings, and if you have a well-thought-out explanation of what qualities make him the man for the job despite those smudges to his resume, please share.

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cranky 5 years, 5 months ago

I cannot speak to the reason George left the council, nor can I speak about his personal business dealings. Those would be questions to ask him. I can only say that I know him to be an enthusiastic, positive, and yes, intelligent person who loves his family and his community. He surely hasn't deserved the attacks that have been made here.

I have a great deal of respect for both Ken W. and George, and think that either one would be an effective leader. Isn't it refreshing when you can support someone without having to smear the opposition?

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bc 5 years, 5 months ago

"But if people's concerns are based in truth, they have a right to air them—and that does not constitute mudslinging"

The concerns here are NOT based on truth. Sure, the truth is George resigned his post early, but not one single person on this forum can give us any idea why other than their opinion of why he did. The only person who knows the true answer is George, but have any of the mudslingers asked him? No, they've all hidden on here behind their anonymity because they are so cowardly to face the man they talk down upon, therefore their opinions mean nothing.

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moe 5 years, 5 months ago

as for me, the facts are he did resign before his term was up. i really dont care what his reasons were. they may have been good ones, but i think his decision forfeited his opportunity to be given a chance at the highest public office we have in this town. sorry...just the way i feel about it. actions have consequences. i think he is doing a fine job in the recreation area and wish him well with that part of public service. but as mayor....no, i think not. we have 2 better choices

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

BC~ I think you have your views a little backward on who is obliged to do what. Do you seriously think it's incumbent upon the voters to (one by one, I take it) seek out George and ask him the same questions that are so very publicly making the rounds?

The ball is in George's court to openly address the questions people have raised about his abilities and commitment. If he has answers that would reassure the voters, why isn't he jumping at the chance to put himself in the best light?

I don't see him doing that. Instead, a handful of supporters and undecideds have been going to bat for him here.

I assure you that the votes of anonymous posters are as valid as anyone's. I believe that the whole idea of an anonymous forum is to have ONE place where people can put aside the "polite dishonesties" dictated by social decorum and say what they really think--without fear of losing customers or patients, without fear of getting fired, without fear of offending friends, neighbors, or acquaintances who, like it or not, you have to deal with... And without fear of attracting a nutjob or stalker who could easily use your name to find your home or place of business. (Think that hasn't happened? Think again.)

There are other valid reasons a person may wish to be anonymous and I never will understand why that seems so threatening to some of you. As long as the person's comments are reasonably sincere (i.e., they're not just jacking everybody around, posting under several names, hijacking someone else's established name, or otherwise acting a troll), what does it matter whether they post as "Flying Fig" or Cuthbert B Throckmorton III?

Anyway--back to topic--it isn't the voter's job to run and ask each candidate to explain troubling aspects about their abilities or character--especially something so telling as a midterm resignation. It's the candidate's job to clear that stuff up if he wants to have any hope of winning. He should want to.

It's that simple. If George has managed that task (in most voters' eyes), he may win today. If one of the other candidates wins, that might indicate that the voters had uneasy feelings about George's abilities and felt someone else could do the job better. Count me in that camp--I voted for Wagner.

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p_zinzer 5 years, 5 months ago

So it was you, OnlyGrey, that took my "Cuthbert B Throckmorton III" screen name from the old Speakout post. Darn you to heck!

BTW, I voted for Wagner also.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

Ha ha, PZ... I'll sell Cuthbert back to you for a Sonic Blast!

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bc 5 years, 5 months ago

TheOnlyGreyghost - I never argued that is wasn't George's job to make it known the reasons for his decisions in the past. I was simply pointing out that most of the negative comments on speakout were libelous in nature whereas you were arguing that they were "truth".

I have less respect for Wagner due to the actions of those supporting him.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

BC~I'm happy to address all 3 points you make...

First, it sure sounded like you were saying that people should go to George and ask him to explain himself. How else are we to interpret this quote:

(BC from April 6) "The only person who knows the true answer is George, but have any of the mudslingers asked him? No, they've all hidden on here behind their anonymity because they are so cowardly to face the man they talk down upon, therefore their opinions mean nothing."

Not only were you challenging them to go to George, you also could not refrain from calling them names at the same time. Think they listened to you?

Second, to address your completely false accusation that I "was arguing" that the accusations made about George "were truth." Let's reread what I actually said:

"Mudslinging generally involves trafficking in lies. If lies have been told, go ahead—set them straight.

But if people's concerns are based in truth, they have a right to air them—and that does not constitute mudslinging."

Care to try interpreting that again? As anyone can see, I did NOT characterize the posters' comments as truth. I instead threw out two possibilities--that they may be false (in which case George or his supporters should refute them) or that they may be true (in which case, they would not be "mudslinging").

I suspect that the reason you purposely twisted my words around was to take the focus off the fact that you HAD no facts with which to refute those other posters' accusations. Neither did George, apparently.

Finally, basing your respect for Wagner on the actions of his Speak-Out supporters (whom he may not even know personally) seems petty and wrong-headed, but I'm sure your personal allotment of respect won't be too badly missed by our new mayor. He has earned the respect of the majority in Baldwin. If you have proof that he was egging on the anonymous "mud slingers," as you characterize them, or was otherwise personally behind the comments, that might be different. But you don't, do you? So how is it his fault if people were bringing to light factors that they felt were true and had bearing on George's suitibility to the job? Shouldn't the public have a full picture of a candidate's business abilities and dedication (or lack thereof) to a job he accepts?

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bc 5 years, 5 months ago

TOGG - I do see your points. I agree that the public should know more about George and they may do so by asking him or better, as you've said, he should address the concern if he is aware of the concern. What if he doesn't read speakout? Can you discredit a guy for not answering a concern which was he was not made aware of? Perhaps it wasn't an overwhelming question from people he discussed his campaign with so why should we expect him to address it? I'm just speculating.

I think perhaps you are I are arguing about two different types of comments made on here. Making fun of his laugh, calling him donkey george; those are the comments that reduce the credibility of any other comments made by those posters, thus their "factors they felt were true" don't hold any greater meaning. Wouldn't you agree? It was those comments that I defined (I think, I was too vague initially) as mudslinging and those individuals would be the mudslingers.

Wikipedia has a good definition of mudslinging: "Negative campaigning is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy rather than emphasizing one's own positive attributes or preferred policies."

I don't think I'm too far off, but I do apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings.

Lastly, I'm not the only one on here that has asked for the name calling to stop for reasons of embarrassing those who supported Ken. I don't have a problem with Ken nor did a say I have absolute disrespect for him. I can still have a reduced respect. Basically, what I'm getting at is this: when I look at what those who support him would do to get him elected, I don't think it's wrong minded to question what type of people Ken surrounds himself with, because that does play a part in a man's character and if you allow me to follow your logic, I should be entitled to raise those concerns, no? I'm willing to admit it's out of line, but like I said, I'm not alone.

Anyway, I'll just leave it at that for what it's worth, agree or disagree. I do think Ken is proven in his business and in this town. I have faith he'll do a great job as Mayor. I like the fact that so many ran for positions and I admire their willingness to take on the challenge.

Thanks for the good discussion TOGG!

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TheOnlyGreyghost 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, BC, and for clarifying exactly what you consider mudslinging. I agree that the personal comments fit the bill.

I understand the impulse to question someone based on who they surround themselves with, but we should be careful about respecting someone less due to what voters do on his behalf. Look at the crazy extremes to which people, of all political stripes, go to in the run-up to national elections. It often boils down to this: does the nonproductive negative stuff originate within the campaign or apart from it? Obviously, if it's truly egregious stuff, the candidate should denounce it. Minor name calling? I think most candidates would ignore that.

For what it's worth, personal insults have been employed in elections since the beginning of time. For some real down & dirty stuff, read some of the names & accusations tossed about in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century elections. They would make "Donkey George" sound like an endearment!

I think you're being generous in wondering if George wasn't hearing voters' doubts & questions. You'd think a friend would've pointed out the comments, even if he didn't hear/read them himself. Certainly he knows (or should), that his resignation from the council would worry people. If he were a good strategist, he would've hit that and hit it hard. When asked about it (at one of the forums? correct my memory), he gave a vague answer, which wasn't enough to quell worries that he might quit again if it got stressful.

That's just one example and, obviously, it doesn't matter now--for him, anyway. For others who might run in the future, it's always good to analyze what does and does not work well and (most importantly) to know your audience.

Anyway, yes--good discussion. I think we're basically in agreement, now that we've each explained our points better.

Can we not have any more elections for awhile? Isn't it time to start arguing about baseball? Or speculating on how many times the tornado sirens will send us running to our basements (or our decks for a good look)?

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bc 5 years, 5 months ago

Good points, while name calling has been apart of elections for some time, I guess I still hope for change.

I could agree that I am being generous as I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to a public office, perhaps I shouldn't be as generous.

Anyway, I agree, new topic! Perhaps we'll get some sunny days when the electricity goes out for no apparent reason. That always starts a good discussion. Take care.

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