Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vote! . . . . . . . . . . . Our Recent Primary

            If elections were graded, we’d fail.

            Most Doña Ana County voters would get suspended for non-attendance.  

            Some non-voter's say there's no one worth voting for; but that wasn't true here.  Merrie Lee Soules was an extraordinary candidate for the PRC, which matters to the average person far more than s/he imagines.   Alan Webber and Howie Morales both impressed me a good deal, and Lawrence Real seemed extraordinarily knowledgeable about how this state should be governed.   The race for county sheriff included at least three good candidates.

            And each vote does matter.  In the last general election, Joanne Ferrary lost to Terry McMillan by just eight votes, and this week Bill Gomez appears to have unseated long-time Representative Mary Helen Garcia by nine.   

            Equally fatuous is the excuse that the lines are long.   Where we voted, there were six or eight voting booths, all unoccupied.  (Admittedly, it wasn't lunch-time or after work.)

            If only this newspaper could eliminate from the “Sound Off” and “Letters to the Editor” communications from folks who don't vote!

            We did stumble into some correct decisions.   

            Norm Osborne consistently seemed a great candidate for Magistrate Judge; and when I saw him at the Democratic Party's forum, he stood out for his judicial bearing and his recognition that “Patience, patience, patience!” was the key to the job he sought.   Credit Rick Wellborn for campaigning hard to retain the seat Governor Martinez gave him.   This was another close race; and without any disrespect to Mr. Wellborn, I think we got it right.   

            I feel the same way about our retention of Beverly Singleman.   Next to Osborne, she seemed the most judge-like and patient among the candidates I saw at that forum.

            Writing this Wednesday, I don't know who'll face incumbent Ben Hall for a seat on the PRC.

            We may have allowed Sandy Jones to win the nomination through a flood of false and stupid advertising.  (He had plenty of money, of course, while Soules was limited by the public-financing option.  We don't yet know how much of Jones’s money came from industry folks who recall his deference to industry, and his lukewarm reaction to renewable energy, when he sat on the PRC.)
            In time-honored fashion, he found a uniquely tired-looking photo of Soules.  His charge that she was a poor candidate because GM recently recalled cars is like rejecting a candidate who served in the Viet Nam war because that war didn't go very well.  She had a responsible position in a huge organization, but she didn't make decisions about whether to put plants in Mexico, nor was she responsible for GM's overall production.   Yes, she worked for GM in Juarez for three years; but she didn't decide to put the plant there and at least during her tenure with GM, the plant observed the more stringent U.S. safety standards, regardless of local standards.   She never managed a GM plant in Mexico; she had nothing to do with the electronic ignition switches that caused the recent recall; and Jones’s ads showed a document she signed in 1996, as if it were relevant, that in fact concerned “Character Standard for Machine Vision Verification of Devices Used on Electrical Centers.”  (I'm guessing that Jones, like me, couldn't even tell you what that means.)
            On issues, qualifications, and record, Soules was a much stronger candidate, so credit Jones for using what he could to prevail.  If politics is a barroom brawl, he done good.  Unfortunately, his Republican opponent may argue that there were questions (fairly or unfairly) about Jones's ethics before the election, and that his misleading ads answer those questions eloquently.
            Jones might well be a better choice than Hall in the general election.  I haven't yet formed an opinion on that.  But Soules was what we all say we want, a new and honest voice, a non-politician with a high degree of competence and an open mind, an engineer and businesswoman.  If she wins, she'll be a far superior choice to Hall.
            Similarly King would probably be a better governor than Martinez has been.  (Unfortunately, so would our cat.)   He won not because of his accomplishments or brilliant ideas but because of his name – and that's the foundation for his claim that he'd be a stronger candidate than Webber in November.   That's practical politics, but damned sad.   
            I think any of 'em would be a long-shot.  Martinez will likely win, despite her poor record.  But Webber offered new ideas, and he hasn't spent his life in politics.  He seemed a refreshing choice for a state that’s seen too many Richardsons and Martinezes. He also came from nowhere politically, and ran a good race.   And I hope Morales takes another shot in four years.   
            Maybe the low turnout was just a result of there being (at least where I voted) no pretty stickers with which to announce one’s virtue.

[The column above appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News today, Sunday,  8 June, under a title that suggested that I objected to results of the election.  I guess I did disagree with a couple of results, but I meant mostly to criticize non-participation.  Nor did I intend to suggest -- as folks so often do -- that results I didn't like were caused by non-voting.  I get tired of hearing that the "real" [but evidently non-voting] County dislikes progressives, didn't want a Monument, etc.]
[I received a flurry of email discussing the possibility of writing in Ms. Soules's name in the general election between Ben Hall and Sandy Jones for PRC commissioner.  I've been advised, but haven't actually checked, that the politicos in all their wisdom did away with the requirement to count such votes, except in an organized write-in-campaign for which the candidate has set on.  I regret that for two reasons: first, obviously, in a general election between two old-style candidates, a strong refusal to vote for either would make a useful statement; and, as a young reporter long ago, I always liked reporting after each election that Daffy Duck and Mickey Mouse had gotten a few votes.]
[Looking ahead, I definitely do recommend voting for King rather than Martinez; and with regard to the PRC I guess I'll wait and see if Jones [or Hall, perhaps] articulates a really compelling reason to vote for him over his opponent.  If I don't hear one, I'll leave that line blank.  In an ideal election, while hundreds of thousands of voters turned out, and voted in other races, King would beat Martinez by about 12 votes to six, and the PRC race would be a 3-3 tie, with each candidate getting his own vote and two from family-members.]
[Meanwhile, we have a host of other important races with candidates well worth supporting -- and a few where a good candidate faces no opposition.]

No comments:

Post a Comment