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Friday, November 02, 2007

Larson and Moore-Sykes Take Shallowness to New Depths

When I opened the Sun Focus today (which, incidentally did not view the litigation between New Brighton and Rottlund as newsworthy enough to report on) I came across full page flyers for Mayor Larson and former Council Member Moore-Sykes. The ads were remarkably similar both in terms of layout and lack of any meaningful content. Describing these lackluster hand bills as "shallow" would be polite as both contain about as much useful information to voters as a fast food burger wrapper. At least the burger wrapper serves a useful purpose.

Granted, political flyers are kind of an obligatory part of running for office and generally are not too intellectually deep, but they still should serve some useful purpose with respect to convincing the reader to vote for the candidate. The Larson and Moore-Sykes flyers are both so poor that it makes me wonder why they would willingly be associated with such amateurish efforts. I'm not advocating people to base their vote for or against a candidate based on the quality of their campaign literature, but it still has to make one wonder about the judgment of whoever would approve such a weak effort.

Both pieces have a resume-like format, but the entries read more like a word association or junior high vocabulary list rather than a summary of actual accomplishments or qualifications. For example here is a section from the Larson piece (shown verbatim):
Due Diligence
Bond Rating - Impact on Tax Rate
Ability to Secure Grants
Quality of Life Issues
Dialog with School Districts
In-fill homes
Housing Stock
Lifecycle Housing
And a section from the Moore-Sykes piece:
Citizen Input
  • Town Hall Meetings -30 years
  • Neighborhood Grid Meetings - 9 Year
  • Crime Watch Captains
  • Neighborhood Officer Policing
  • School Liason Officers
  • Community Communication - Web Page and Newsletter
  • Visioning
  • Business Community Involvement
  • Business Council
  • City Commissions
  • City Task Forces
Both feature a nice collection of nouns, verbs, and phrases (Kim's does have nicer text ornamentation), with the hard hitting impact of a shopping list.

In most cases the entries accomplish nothing more than occupying a position in a list. For example, what knowledge is the reader supposed to acquire from the "Due Diligence" entry? I guess there is the implication the this is a "good" thing and that our boy or girl is "for" it or "did" it. Whatever the meaning it must be a really important or really good thing as, at least in the Larson piece, it appears in multiple sections. "Visioning" must also be really important too as it rates mention in multiple sections within these high impact documents.

For all of the lists and categories there is generally no direct indication of whether a candidate is "for" or "against" a given item, or if they participated in an event, or are taking credit for it, etc. The lists read like a transcript from an episode of the old $10,000 Pyramid game show for the Things in a local political campaign category.

Is this all Larson and Moore-Sykes have to convince voters that they are the best candidates to address the complex issues and difficult choices the city faces? It seems to me that this close to the election if a candidate had a compelling case for re-election or return to office it would be a smart thing to make the case.

On the other hand, if they have nothing...


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