Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

SRO crowd turns out for council forum

The candidates were hard to see, but the sound quality was good.

A city council candidate forum at 701 Whaley drew a standing-room-only crowd.

The event, sponsored by Rosewood Community CouncilSustainable Midlands and the Rosewood Merchants Association, featured all of the candidates for both the at-large seat being vacated by Daniel Rickenmann and the District 3 seat currently held by Belinda Gergel.

That format, with seven candidates not all running for the same job, was a bit unwieldy. And the staging — with the candidates sitting in shadow with bright pools of superfluous light to either side of them — was ideal for making photographers want to pull their hair out. But dim as it was, it was the first look I’d had at both of these lineups, and I found it useful, as I expect the audience did.

You can read an account of the forum — “debate” would be misleading — at thestate.com.

Here are a few additional comments of my own:

As Carolyn indicated in her story, the sharpest disagreement — really, the only disagreement — was over Richland County sales tax increase that is the only plan this community has come up with for paying for bus service for the Midlands. Which tells you where I stand, as if you didn’t know already. Since a city without public transit might as well go out of business.

The candidates with the best answers on that were Cameron Runyan (running for the at-large seat) and Daniel Coble (running in District 3). Both offered passionate, even vehement, support for the sales tax increase as essential to the community going forward. Beyond those two there was a second group (Jenny Isgett, Mike Miller — both District 3 candidates) who were sorta kinda for it, but with caveats. Then there were Joe Azar and Robert Bolchoz (both running at-large), who expressed the strongest skepticism for the plan. (For some reason, I don’t have what Moe Baddourah — the other District 3 candidate — said on the issue in my notes. Blame me for that, not him.)

Beyond that, I have scattered impressions. There was general agreement, and not only from small businessmen Baddourah and Azar, that the city makes it too hard to do business. When the candidates were asked about Famously Hot (yay, ADCO!), Mike Miller said his favorite part of the campaign was the “surprisingly cool” — which he said was accurate (as former music writer at The State, Mike was the only one on the panel who has actually been a professional arbiter of what is cool). Jenny Isgett diagnosed the city as suffering from ADD, with the symptoms being the inability to pick priorities and see them through.

I look forward to learning more about what differences exist between these candidates and sharing what I find with y’all. I also need to see what’s happening, if anything, in the 2nd District, where Nammu Muhammad is challenging Brian DeQuincey Newman.

But this was a start — actually, a belated one. The election is just under a month away — April 3.

This is my rifle, this is my gun… The Laurens County GOP purity test

The thing that got me about the Laurens County GOP “Purity” pledge wasn’t the general idea about having politicians behave themselves on the sexual front. I’m for that. Mainly because I get sick of hearing about their failures in that department, when there are a lot of other things we should be talking about.

If you can find a candidate who never did anything wrong on that front and never will, I’m all for it. And I’m particularly sympathetic to the Laurens County folks, because they’ve endured such aggravation on that front:

The 28-point pledge passed last week appeared to be at least in part a response to an extramarital affair had by the county sheriff, who was also accused in a lawsuit of driving his mistress to get an abortion in a county-owned vehicle, leading to an inter-party squabble when the local group’s leader called for the sheriff to resign.

So I’ve got no beef with that. Nor am I bothered by the impracticality of, for instance, living in the United States in 2012 and not being exposed to pornography. You couldn’t, for instance, be on Twitter. The Twitter folks do an awesome job, I think, of keeping it clean. I’m surprised by how quickly new followers who are really just come-ons for porn sites disappear.

But still, there are those brief moments, before they get booted off as spam, when you innocently go, “Let’s see who’s following me now,” as I did this morning, and you make the mistake of clicking on the avatar, as I did this morning, and bang, you’re looking at a wet, naked girl in a bathtub. And I mean “girl,” as in so young you feel like the dirtiest man in the world for having glimpsed her even for a second. You see something like that, and the first thought in your head, if you’re a normal, red-blooded American male, is, “Now I can never run for office in Laurens County!” (By the way, lest any of you perves go to my Twitter feed and click on my followers trying to find the picture — I’ve already reported that account for spam, and it’s gone.)

But that’s not my biggest problem with the pledge, either. My biggest problem is that the “purity pledge” is… adulterated… with unrelated material:

The pledge is full of traditional Republican talking points in a conservative state – balancing budgets, opposing gun control laws and abortion, supporting school choice and a statement that marriage is “fundamental to the stability, betterment and perpetuation of our society.”

Nothing against balanced budgets, but what does that have to do with porn? And opposing gun control? Really? So you’re saying, you can’t touch a woman until you’re married to her, and you’re not to touch, um, porn ever, but you’re encouraged to sit there caressing and oiling up your Smith and Wesson?

Nothing against guns, either, but really — what does that have to do with purity?