Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Local Angle

Usually voters and even hardcore political wonks like our own Atomizer don't pay enough attention to local elections. But these elections, like their state and national counterparts, do have consequences. Those with bigger and better future aspirations start their political careers in local races and often what your local government does or doesn't do in terms of taxes, regulations, and spending has a more immediate impact on your life than what takes place at the state or national level.

Since these local races don't receive the same level of interest or attention, it's always helpful to receive guidance from a trusted source on whom to cast a ballot for and why. In just a couple of weeks, Golden Valley-my city of residence-will be holding municipal elections with several city council seats on the line. Over at Kolblog, owner/operator Jeff Kolb has posted his
2013 Golden Valley City Council Voters Guide.

While I join with my fellow Golden Valleyians in thanking Jeff for his recommendations, I must take them with a grain of salt. For Jeff is not one of us as he resides in the nearby community of Crystal. And someone from Crystal telling someone from Golden Valley who they should vote for is like someone from St. Paul advising someone from Minneapolis in the same way. Or perhaps more aptly, it's like someone from Hopkins telling someone from Minnetonka who best should lead their fair city.

So here is a voter guide for the upcoming Golden Valley city council elections from an actual Golden Valleyian. Interestingly enough, my recommendations are pretty much exactly the same as those offered by our compadre from Crystal.

The easiest choice is for the open two year seat which features a contest between appointed incumbent Steve Schmidgall and John Giese. I know John Giese. He’s a good man and will make a good city councilman. He’s a veteran who owns his own small business and will bring much needed perspective to city hall. I’ve been impressed with the number of lawn signs supporting him that I’ve seen around town and we received a nicely done mailer from his campaign yesterday.

I don’t know his opponent Steve Schmidgall. I do however know that Schmidgall is best known for effort to get the Pledge of Allegiance removed from city council meetings:

Again, it’s a very easy choice here.

Things are a bit more complicated for the two open four year term seats. There are nine candidates in the race vying for those two seats. Jeff did some homework to help eliminate three of them from consideration:

Larry Fonnest and Andy Snope have been endorsed by the DFL. Bob Hernz serves in the Dayton administration.

Meanwhile, two of the remaining six candidates have been endorsed by their local GOP BPOUs:

Jacquelyn Smith

Paul Scofield

While I am not familiar with Jacquelyn Smith, I do know Paul Scofield and, like John Giese, he will be an excellent addition to the city council. And I’m also inclined to follow the local Republican endorsements especially when there’s a crowded field. As Jeff notes, there are other candidates in the race who also have appeal especially Simon Gottlieb. However, Golden Valley is a fairly dark blue city and if those of us of the minority political persuasion don’t unite around a couple of candidates we’ll likely get no one across the finish line. So Smith and Scofield it is.

Vote early, vote often, vote local.