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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Brighton Elections - Not Optimal, But Incremental Progress Continues

The make-up of the New Brighton City Council is as follows after today's election:
Mayor: Steve Larson
Council Members: Sharon Doffing, Mary Burg, Gina Bauman, David Phillips
While conservatives are probably disappointed with the election results relative to how much better things could have been if Larson and Burg had been ousted, the new council make-up does represent an improvement over the current council. Although progress has not come as fast and dramatically as most of us would like, consider the progress that has been made over the last two years.

With the election of Gina Bauman two years ago we added another reliable conservative to the council. Before that Council Member Sharon Doffing was the only member consistently representing our interests but was always fighting from a 4-1 minority position. Gina's election improved the situation such that, even though conservatives were in a 3-2 minority, they were able to get more done than Sharon could do alone, particularly in the area of reigning in the budget.

Matt Fulton, the long time command-and-control government liberal, decided to leave. Fulton had aggressively pursued a lot of reckless redevelopment and was a prime driver of the abusive eminent domain policies used to acquire the NWQ properties. He also was no fan of fiscal restraint. His replacement, Dean Lotter, though not a conservative by any means, seems to be more reasonable and prudent than Fulton in both areas.

After today's election of David Phillips to the council, the center of gravity of the council has shifted in our favor. Although not a conservative per se, Mr. Phillips is strong opponent of eminent domain and has a vast amount of private sector (i.e. for profit) redevelopment experience that will be very helpful as the city attempts to clean up the mess the liberals have made over the last 20 years or so. It is interesting to note that Mr. Phillips was the top vote getter and was the most vocal critic among the council candidates of how the city has gone about the NWQ redevelopment.

It was disappointing that Terry Post was not elected in that his financial expertise and strong conservative positions would have been a welcome addition to the council. While Mary Burg, a very likeable and congenial person, has tended to vote with the Gang of Three in most matters she was much more conservative when she was first elected. Hopefully she will drift back toward the right now that she is in the minority. In any case she is much more palatable to conservatives than the abrasively shrill and very liberal Kim Moore-Sykes who finished dead last among the council candidates.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the election from the conservative perspective was the re-election of Mayor Steve Larson. What's really disappointing about this situation is that a huge factor in Larson's re-election was that voters who felt that Larson should be ousted divided their votes between two candidates. Dan Dahms, clearly the most conservative of the candidates, garnered about 35% of the vote. Unfortunately the rudderless candidacy of Ed Bova, although a very likeable guy, attracted enough moderates and liberals who had had enough of Larson to get 20% of the vote and very likely was the major factor in Larson retaining office.

Had Bova had the sense to stay out of the race once he saw that Dahms had filed (as Dahms has said he would have if Bova had filed first) the people of New Brighton could have sent Larson riding off into the sunset. The really sad thing is that Bova and Dahms were in agreement on most of the contentious issues and either one would have been a much preferable mayor than Larson. Just as Ross Perot's candidacy had enabled the disastrous election of Bill Clinton, Ed Bova's weak candidacy enabled Larson's re-election. As embarrassing as it is have a lamer like Larson as our mayor for another two years, the way in which he won adds insult to injury.

On the bright side (gotta keep that PMA up!), even though the long time good ol' boys at New Brighton City Hall still have their guy at the top, it won't be as easy for them to ram their liberal policies through now that the balance of power on the council has shifted. Mayor Larson will have to deal with the fact that 55% of voters voted for someone else to be mayor and that his victory can in no way be viewed as a mandate. Being a "Friend of Steve" may not carry the political clout or influence it once did.

New Brighton faces some difficult choices ahead to deal with the problems that Larson, and to a lesser degree Burg, are largely responsible for creating. It is in all of our best interests, liberals and conservatives alike, that the city council finds a way to clean up the mess. While the new council is not optimal, the power shift toward the right leaves us better off than the current one. Bad decisions that pass on a 3-2 vote with the current council (like the Marv's Transmission purchase and the self-serving taxation survey) will be a lot less likely to occur now.

Buck up and keep the faith. New Brighton is unfortunately still a very liberal place, but we conservatives are making progress. The balance of power on the City Council is now tilted in our favor and the majority of the voters have sent a clear message to the mayor that he is not as popular as he thought he was.

The progress may be slow, but slow progress is better than no progress or losing ground.

Labels:

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Brighton blew a golden opportunity. I hope Eddie "The Ego" Bova is happy.

11/07/2007 6:53 AM  
Blogger Daria said...

Though it could have been worse it is still disappointing.

Officer Bova said at the LWV Forum that as mayor he would work to get the council members to drop personal agendas. Apparently he was going to do this through some other technique than "lead by example".

I hope Mayor Steve Forty Five Percent Larson called and thanked Inspector No Clue So for the assist. Maybe the unbuildable portion of the NWQ is large enough to provide a place for Eddie to keep his ego.

Officer Bova repeatedly said that he loved the people of New Brighton. As Nazareth said in song: Love Hurts.

-D

11/07/2007 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know RIGHT HOOK, I new who was really going to win and I watched your worthless attempts to drag this election into the dirt. Your problem is that the majority of the citizens in New Brighton know better, and they voted as such. Nothing good comes from this site other than anger and hate. Find a new outlet or get help seriously, you need medication.

11/07/2007 7:38 AM  
Blogger Force50 said...

Right Hook is right as usual. Anonymous (the second one) sounds like Steve Larson. He doesn't realize that the majority voted against him. But Daria is downright brilliant with that Inspector "No Clue So" comment on Bova. Come to think of it Daria is consistently brilliant. Please come out of that cloud in cyberspace, reveal yourself, and lead us all to conservative nirvana!

11/07/2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Anonymous -

In case you didn't notice more than half of the people voting for mayor voted for someone other than Larson--not exactly a hearty endorsement. The political newcomer Phillips, though not as conservative as I would prefer, ran a very good campaign that centered on the need to change the direction of this city from the way Larson and his cronies have been running it for twenty years. Maybe you also “new” that the hand-picked choice of Mayor Larson to take this seat would finish dead last.

YOUR problem, aside from a decided lack of literacy and coherent thought, is that you do not have the courage of your convictions or the intelligence to creatively argue them. You can't seem to distinguish between “anger and hate” and pointed sarcasm. Maybe you should stop self-prescribing your medication or obtaining it from an undocumented pharmacist.

<Smackdown>As far as finding a new outlet, lurking on a blog site that expresses views you don't agree with and occasionally responding with semi-literate angry drivel without even the effort to attempt a somewhat creative rebuttal (or even come up with a handle) speaks volumes about your character, intellect, and your need to switch to decaf. Perhaps you should buy yourself a big box of colorful new crayons and some nice clean white paper (recycled, of course) and draw pretty pictures while you listen to MPR as an outlet for your pent up hate and anger of those with a different political view than yours.

No one forces you to read this site. As this blog encourages intelligent discourse you will not be missed if you quit coming here. Admittedly it is sometimes fun to pick on idiots but it does get old if the idiot can't show at least a modicum of creativity or intelligence.</Smackdown>

May peace be with you, and don't let the door hit you in the behind as you leave.

11/07/2007 10:19 AM  
Blogger Brent said...

The really sad thing is that Bova and Dahms were in agreement on most of the contentious issues and either one would have been a much preferable mayor than Larson. Just as Ross Perot's candidacy had enabled the disastrous election of Bill Clinton, Ed Bova's weak candidacy enabled Larson's re-election.

This is why elections are messed up when there isn't a primary. There should never be more then 2 candidates on the general election ballot. Your choice should be A or B, Heads or Tails, Black or White.

11/07/2007 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your commnets continue to prove my point. Get HELP

11/07/2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

And your "commnets" continue to prove that you're an idiot.

This is too easy. Maybe I should pull seniority and stick Daria with dealing with the double-digit IQ community.

On second thought, let's just give this toadie the boot and be done with him:

<IdiotBeGone>
Congrats! Your lack of intelligent contribution to this blog has earned any future comments (as well as "commnets") from you a one-way ticket to the bit-bucket! Get LOST.
</IdiotBeGone>

My apology to those of you who make intelligent comments that add to the discourse, including those who vehemently disagree with us. You can thank this clown for forcing us to turn on comment moderation.

11/07/2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger Centerfield said...

*puts on his PMA hat.....a small improvement is still improvement.

I hope Hiz Honour takes a look at the results of the election and choose for it to be his last. The handwriting is on the wall and he will not survive another election for certain.

Found the blog just before the election and I look forward to the discourse!

11/07/2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous On the Right said...

Unseating an incumbent happens infrequently so Dahm's showing & newcomer Phillip's receiving the most votes was encouraging.

Phillip's positioning as an eminent domain authority and protector of private property rights was instrumental in his success. ED is an emotional issue that resonates with the voters and I believe this is what distinguished him.

Dahm's benefitted greatly from a superior web site chalk full of substantive content.

Agree whole-heartedly w/Right Hook that it's a pity - Dahm's wins in a one-on-one contest. Bova clearly divided the vote and may have impacted the city council race as well. It's a free country but in retrospect, perhaps someone should have approached Bova and requested he step aside.

Hopefully bottom vote-getter, headache that won't go away KMS will put us out of our misery and not run again, ever...

11/07/2007 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Web Author Geek said...

Question for Right Hook:

Are the "Smackdown" and "IdiotBeGone" tags part of the latest W3C Specification? I couldn't find them in my copy but see from your usage that they can be very useful 8-) .

I don't pay a lot of attention to politics but I appreciate when clueless people in power along with their pathetic suck-ups (or "toadies" as you put it) are put into their place with brutal bluntness. I wish it would happen more often at the company I work for.

Thankfully I don't live in your city (especially after reading your blog) but your stuff is still entertaining to read.

11/07/2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous On the Right said...

Bova's certainly in large measure responsible for Dahm's defeat but there may be multi-way races in the future also. One question is what can the conservative base do differently or better to win these elections?

You could make the argument that the election turned on voter turnout. Higher turnout may be indicative of new, disgruntled voters - especially unhappy with incumbents. It's the candidates' and supporters responsiblity to mobilize their base & get them to the polls. I think this blog has the potential to put together a strong nucleus of like-minded conservatives to support future candidates in the form of volunteer efforts, fundraising, door knocking, etc. If we band together we can get our base to the polls more effectively than the opposition. As Right Hook mentions, we're close now. It would only take a small number of new conservative voters to completely change the City Council.

Here are the voting turnout statistics for the last 3 off-year elections:

2007
13,728 - # of registered voters
3,078 - total votes
22% of total voted

2005
13,792
2,495
18% voted

2003
12,323
4,786
39% voted

11/07/2007 5:05 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Come on now, we have to cut Anonymous #2 some slack. Those who live on emotion ungoverned by cognitive thought are simply incapable of discerning the difference between disagreement and hate. Clearly Anonymous #2 thinks these two concepts are one in the same.

It's a sad existence, but one that gives hope to Democrat leaders everywhere. Who else would be so willing to let government bureaucrats dictate their every move? Further, it is a Democrat's dream to have gullible supporters incapable of the cognitive resources necessary to hold leaders accountable for their actions. Democrats like supporters who can't remember what they said last year, last month, or even yesterday – and they love supporters who can't tell when yesterday's speech contradicts today's.


On another note, Brent makes a good point. This election, as well as the Presidential elections of 1992 and 1996, prove the fallacy of a third party.

All elections typically boil down to a choice of more government intervention into our lives versus less. A third-party candidate will undoubtedly split one of these two choices between two different candidates. A "successful" third-party candidate only guarantees that the majority choice for the direction of government will always lose.

11/07/2007 6:10 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Web Author Geek -

Those tags are not yet candidates for the latest W3C specification but, as Uncle Rush might say, they should be.

As long as there are morons like #2 (a fitting handle for such a dullard if there ever was one) out there who get their 6 year old to help them get on the computer and sound out the big words there is a need for such tags.

Thanks for checking out our blog.

11/07/2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Mary Burg? Didn't she work to defeat Kim Moore-Sykes in the last election? I helped put signs up for her in her first election and she was no fan of Mayor Steve Larson. I was so surprised to see her run with the old council group she wanted to change in her first run for office. I've watched her from time to time at council meetings and can't believe she is the same person. Didn't anyone who voted notice that she completely changed?!!!

11/08/2007 9:39 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Mary has been a disappointment.

She does not appear to have any core beliefs other than to be liked. She is a really pleasant person and is very likeable but cannot be described as a deep thinker or holding any firm convictions.

I can't help but think that many of those who voted for her did so based more on personality rather than political substance. Because she is so apt to go to where she perceives the popular position is she may return to the side of goodness and light some day.

We can only hope.

11/09/2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger G-Man said...

On the Right gave us some interesting numbers. By a wide margin, more people voted in 2003 (4,786) than in 2005 (2,495) and 2007 (3,078 ). At first glance it would appear that apathy or disinterest may have set in between 2003 and 2005. However, unlike the last two election cycles, there were school levy questions on the ballot in 2003 -- unfortunately, they all passed.

11/13/2007 5:54 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm finally getting around to reading all the MOB blogs and found yours just now. Wish I'd found you before the election! I agree with everything you've written here about Larson; I've lived in New Brighton for 10 years now and watching the current group in operation has been hugely frustrating. They spend millions on boondoggles but don't do squat about things that could be easily rememdied.

Good job! By the way, I blog at www.mrdilettante.blogspot.com.

11/23/2007 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the prostitution arrest on Mr. Phillip's record look?

Good?

A minor distraction?

Or does political philosophy trump personal responsibility?

7/26/2008 8:43 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

The prostitution arrest on Mr. Phillip's record can't be said to look "good", but please remember that he hasn't been convicted of anything yet. Liberals have not yet evicerated the Constitution to take away one's right to be presumed innocent until due process has commenced.

Incidentally, Mr. Phillips is a life-time Democrat and has some very liberal positions on many issues. I probably would not support him as a candidate for many other political positions, but with respect to the issues currently before the City Council he for the most part has voted in the interests of the voters.

As far as being a distraction, it has been so only to the degree that the new minority of Mayor Larson and Council Member Burg have gone out of their way to make it so. Mr. Phillips, to his credit considering the difficult and trying times this matter has surely impacted his personal life, has made some substantial contributions to the City Council discourse which have been in the best interests of the citizens.

Mr. Phillips has a right to his day in court. I don't know for sure, but I would strongly suspect that his lawyer has advised him not to make any public statements, as is his right to do.

Even if he is convicted, the city rules do not obligate him to resign his position. Let's wait until the legalities are resolved and how Mr. Phillips addresses the matter with the public before passing final judgment.

7/26/2008 9:13 PM  

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