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Ever Thought About Running For Office? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 03:38

Here's the thing: If good people, without personal agendas, don't run for local political offices (mayor, alderman, etc.), then Davenport will be stuck with the same unacceptable performance we are experiencing from our current mayor (Ed Winborn) and five aldermen (Jamie Howard, at large; Ian Frink, at large; Charlie Brooke, Ward 6; Barney Barnhill, Ward 7; and Brian Dumas, Ward 8), who consistently vote as a political bloc in favor of special interests, imposing legislation that often conflicts with the citizenry of taxpayers.

This reflects the poorest political conduct by elected officials because they refuse to represent the individual taxpayer in such matters. This is the same problem that plagues our state and national governance, and there is only one way to solve it: Elect trustworthy individuals who are honorable enough to stick to their campaign promises to represent the interests of the people first and foremost.

But first these noble individuals must seek office. As voters, we must agree to keep our eye on the ball by not allowing the media to distract our attention with politically irrelevant matters or negative campaigns that detract, mislead, or otherwise degrade the political process.

For example, it is appropriate to showcase facts about a candidate's voting record, or analyze leadership skills as they apply to the office sought, but personal attacks unrelated to the requirements of the job must be off-limits. If voters agree to hold the media and candidates accountable to higher standards, then honorable people will be more likely to run.

Personally, I believe elected officials should make serious money and enjoy benefits while they hold office. I am completely against any residual benefits after individuals leave office, regardless of why. Competitive compensation will automatically attract a higher caliber of participant. The business of a second-tier city can be complicated and requires individuals with problem-solving skills, some finance competencies, developed communication skills, and the ability to connect the dots, so to speak.

That is not to say that a strong measure of common sense isn't highly valued. In fact, plenty of common sense often connects dots with enormous efficiency - and honesty. If a person has the discipline to manage his own financial affairs with success, many times this logic transfers easily to the world of business, especially governmental business.

Most importantly, a willingness to learn, coupled with a commitment to making positive progress for a community's taxpayers and residents, and a questioning mind with the courage ask a lot of questions and hold out for the answers no matter what, would go a long way in today's political arena.

This country, and Davenport is no exception, is so hungry for sensible, honorable leadership. It is a perfect time for good people to enter politics and create real change. Americans want this change badly, and I believe voters are willing to deal with beginners' learning curves if it means shedding the political corruption, and the powerlessness that defines many of our citizens.

Davenport's general city election is November 6. However, the primary is October 9. Davenport chose to have primaries even though we have nonpartisan elections. In fact, if we were to eliminate primaries and opt for a Chapter 45 Ordinance, we would save an additional $32,000 every election. Without primaries, the elections in November would be like those in Bettendorf - winners take all during one election. There is no weeding of candidates via primaries, after which there are only two candidates for each seat.

Thankfully, Davenport taxpayers have enjoyed the representation of four aldermen this past term (Shawn Hamerlinck, Ward 2; Keith Meyer, Ward 3; Ray Ambrose, Ward 4; and Bill Lynn, Ward 5) who deserve consideration with continued loyalty and voter support for their consistent vigilance.

So much of the responsible city work that these four tried to accomplish was thwarted by the other council members, who could always count on Mayor Winborn to break any ties in their favor. At times, these four aldermen were forced into actions in order to block the bloc from perpetrating council actions that were premature and lacked transparency. They have continued to question and expose the bloc's activities for public scrutiny. Without their efforts, most notably those of Meyer and Hamerlinck, the public would have been politically ambushed on numerous occasions.

Rest assured that DavenportOne is working tirelessly to incorporate their hand-picked candidates into office this fall. Even with new leadership at the helm (Jim Russell, the new board chair, deserves the benefit of the doubt for now), it's hard to change one's political spots. Therefore, if Davenport wants meaningful change, taxpayers/voters must neutralize any concentrated, systematic grab for control of our city's political structure by installing honest people who will not be unduly influenced by special interests.

There is no question that it is a huge commitment of time and certain resources, and to remain steadfast in office requires good people around him or her to help balance the onslaught of special interests that invade city hall once ballots have been cast. No good candidate should have to run alone, but should be able to count on solid support throughout his/her term(s).

Anyone interested in running for a city office in Davenport for the two-year term, beginning January 2008, must pickup his or her candidacy packets at City Hall. His or her intent to run can be filed anytime between August 13 and August 30.

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