Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Four More Years; Thanks to the Informed Voter

Here is my formula to win a political campaign:

Don’t put up any yard signs. Don’t do any mailers except for residents of retirement and private homes. Don’t spend any of your own money and take no money from special interest groups. Have no fund raisers. Don’t do a phone bank. Weather repeated attacks on your perceived personality by the Journal Star and get their “smarzy” endorsment. (As Bill Dennis called their endorsement of me, even 5th rate columnist Republican Roger Monroe, 20 years on the County Board without ever being elected Chairman, did a rambling attack on me 3 days before the election.) Survive the fabrications mailed by your opponent in 2 or more mailings. Make no public attacks on your opponent; just correct their fabrications on a blog site.

Be 81 years old, double the age of your opponent.

Try not to be a candidate in an election year dominated over the whole country by Democrats.

Survive the radical segment of the local environmentalists whose letters to the editor attack your intelligence. Survive phone calls to voters in your district urging people to vote against you, some from your own party.

What I described above is the way my campaign progressed and ended in a win for me. While the margin was small, a win is a win no matter what the score. For those who say I should have won by a larger margin, I suggest they won’t forget that I did win and am on the Peoria County Board for the next four years if I desire. I survived a number of telephone calls to park employees asking them to vote against me coming from at least one leading member of the Peoria Park District. (More on the Park District soon) The best letter of describing and supporting me came from a Democrat. After I made a supposedly unpopular vote on the landfill hearings and got bad press for doing what every responsible person should do, one prominent member of the Republican Party asked me to consider stepping down because he said the party felt I couldn’t win and if I wouldn't step down, would I consent to a telephone poll. I said no to both questions.

The application by the landfill operators was turned down by 12 members of the board and supported by six including myself. (Locally owned and well operated Peoria Disposal Company has filled an appeal to overturn the decision and the County has already spent $91,000 of taxpayer’s money in preliminary defense of the appeal.) More on the progress of this appeal later. By the way, PDC is in Peoria County and therefore a constituent of mine same as the opposers.

Since I didn’t put up any yard signs except at the voting precincts, I don’t have any signs to pick up. I did pick up all Republican signs at one precinct and picked up my other precinct signs before daybreak today.

I want to thank especially Republicans Tim Swain, Gene Ginoli, Chuck Martin and Democrat Kenny Carrigan. And a special thanks to Fritz Rapp and his daughter Julie, owner of ADCO who designed and printed my handout.

I thank the Republican Party for their endorsement and many of the hard working staff at headquarters especially Norma Goodale. Thanks to Mayor Jim Ardis for his support. (And ex-Mayor Jim Maloof) Thanks to PAC for supporting me and their understanding of my request not to be given any money. Same for the Republican Central Committee.

And the big thanks to all those Republicans, Independents and Democrats who voted to reelect me. These are the most informed people in Peoria County and the type of individuals who want some form of stable sanity in governmental bodies and look to people like me to provide it.

My next challenge is the approval of the budget and the election of a County Board Chairman. Both Democrats Tom O’Neill and Bill Prather have thrown their hat in the ring. I am not standing for reelection as Vice-Chairman.

As Saddam Hussein, after being sentenced to hang, said “no hard feelings, let’s all shake hands and work together”. After all no matter of which party we belong to our job is to make the best INFORMED decisions for the benefit of Peoria County.

I plan to continue to do that. I just received an email from Patrick Urich, our capable county administrator, congratulating me with the expression that he looked forward to continue working with me.

Thanks to all those who supported me and thanks to Cheryl S. who always has a kind word. Many, many thanks to my wife Claire and my daughter Mary Jo. And to my daughter Nancy Ann, for her interest and words of support. And friends like the Ruffs and Alms. All others who gave support are so numerous that I can only say “special thanks” to all of you.

Sure, I could have won by a larger by putting up yard signs; I’m probably the only candidate in the country who didn’t put up yard signs, didn’t send out mailers, and didn’t have a fund raiser, didn't do a phone bank and still won my reelection. By losing I would have probably added more years to my life, more money in the bank and be an unlikely target for the vile of 3rd string columnists of the ilk of Phil L and Terry B.


Anonymous said...

A couple of questions:

- Is there any way that one can disagree with you, thoughtfully and considerately, without you being angry, put-off, or otherwise offensive about the “affront?” You seem to relegate those who vote (and by ‘vote’ I mean in the boardroom), or think differently than you to the trash heap of ignorance and/or foolishness. The reason I ask and believe that it is a relevant question is that you speak highly of “working together” – that would seem to be a challenge based upon the harsh tone of your narratives.

- Do you think that the fact that so many people voted for such an awful candidate as your opponent (as indeed she was awful) was a vote against you? In other words, how badly do your constituents have to feel about you in order to vote for a truly reprehensible candidate like your opponent? To be sure, not being an informed voter is part of the equation, but is not the perception that you have created for yourself also part of that same calculus?

The kernel of your writing is rarely provocative, always thoughtful, and generally right on the mark. Your vitriol, however, has a tendency to blemish your overall exposition, moving focus away from your core points and more toward your anger…at least it seems that way. I only offer this considered observation because it’s important that your succeed because of your strong sensibilities – unfortunately, your equally strong sensitivities interfere. And I think this election illustrates that fact.

Moreover, you spend an inordinate amount of time justifying yourself, your worth, your experience, etc. Do I sense insecurity in there somewhere?

Also please know that I’m not Roger Monroe. Whenever anyone offers criticism, constructive or otherwise, you pin it on Monroe. I am and will forever be Anonymous because as such, free and thoughtful dialogue can be offered, at least from me. And yes, I know that anonymity is the refuge of the cowards. I am, I assure you, no coward – just someone who doesn’t want a personal relationship with you or the world. My honestly committed thoughts and questions are in earnest – the thoughts are what matter, not who I am.

Stormin' Norman said...

Congrats on winning...

KEAlms/SAPartridge said...

Anonymous: Yes, style is important as well as passion. The actual truth is sometimes easier to swallow when the messenger has less vitriol as you state.

Nevertheless, sometimes the listener (citizen and government official or administrative) uses the messenger's style as the ploy to avoid the truth and marginalize the messenger. Indeed, instead of taking appropriate corrective action, they blame the mess on the messenger instead of taking responsibility or worse yet deny anything is amiss.

Give me someone with vitriol who tells the truth any day over a smoozer who lies and deceives and leads me astray.

And Merle, congratulations on your victory!

Cal Skinner said...

Congratulations from McHenry County!

Angela Anderson said...

Congrats Merle! I am happy for you. Best Wishes, Angela

Anonymous said...

To KEAlms/SAPartridge....Indeed. Politics is as much marketing and acting as anything. The best of both worlds - passion with knowledge, and the ability to communicate that passion/knowledge without becoming a caricature – is what makes the kind of elected representative that we all want (or should, anyway). Ronald Reagan pulled that off better than anyone in my own living memory.

In retrospect, my remarks were stronger than I had intended. Truly meant a thoughtful inquire and constructive critisicm. And I neglected to say – Congratulations Mr. Widmer.

Anonymous said...

To bad you didn't put you "campaign strategy" to work when Mr. Cassidy blew you out of the water a couple of years ago. Idiot!

KEAlms/SAPartridge said...

Anonymous --- Tm Cassidy comment --- Had Merle won, at least this taxpayer would have been assured that fiscal responsibility would have been exercised relative to the zoo expansion and other PPD financial decisions. IMHO, Merle would not have voted for spending $2.2 million of taxpayer money to repay a second supplemental loan (principle) for the zoo expansion and would have also voted against spending more taxpayer money on the interest of up to 3.5 % per year for up to 10 years on $10.2 million for the zoo expansion. Here's a toast to someone competent and fiscally responsible running and winning against Tim Cassidy for Peoria Park Board President in the 2007 Spring Election!