My top three races are also my top three reasons for hoping my neighbors will get out and vote tomorrow. Generally, the higher the turnout, the less radical the outcome — and I assert that two of these three races pit radicals against more sensible citizens.
(By the way, if you’re looking for my “handy election guide,” I’ve updated the early version a few times since I posted it, and it now has links to later discussion of some issues and races. So there’s no point in reposting it today as a “final edition” or whatever.)
Utah County Commission Seat A: Write-In Bill Freeze vs. Republican Greg Graves
Bill Freeze, whom I heartily recommend, is running very nearly a textbook write-in campaign against Republican Greg Graves — which is what it usually takes to win as a write-in candidate, even if the opportunity is ideal. I don’t expect Freeze to win in a landslide, because he is a write-in candidate, but I’m expecting him to win. That makes this a very unusual — and to me very interesting — race.
For more information on this race, see David’s Handy Little Election Guide. I’ve also blogged lately about how, for me, Bill Freeze stands out among local candidates in a very conspicuous and satisfying way.
As you’ve gathered, I recommend taking the extra minute to cast a write-in vote for Bill Freeze. Make sure you do it for County Commission Seat A (with Graves on the ballot), not Seat B, or it won’t count. If you have any difficulties, ask a poll worker for help.
Alpine School Board District 3: Incumbent John Burton v. Chris Jolley
This race interests me in an analytical way. John Burton is a highly respected establishment man. Dr. Chris Jolley is ill-prepared and ominous but much loved by a certain faction. The outcome here will be an interesting test of that faction’s strength. (To be sure, it’s more complicated than that. There are two discernible factions supporting him; one with which I have much in common, and one which I believe is toxic to good government.)
My argument that these school board races, while officially nonpartisan, are actually partisan races between the establishment’s candidates and the outsiders’ candidates is a simplification — rather like Republican vs. Democrat is a simplification in officially partisan races. But the more I observe the rhetoric in these races, the more convinced I am that many, many people on both sides see — instinctively if not analytically — the same partisan divide. If you’re in one of these unofficial parties (it hardly matters which), nothing the other party’s candidate can say will please you, even if it’s exactly what you believe or exactly what your party’s own candidate says on that issue. And your own party’s candidate is almost certain to please you, as long as he or she isn’t exposed (apologies for the verb) as a pedophile before the vote.
I have distressed some of my outsider party friends more than a little, and have delighted my natural opponents and given them ammunition, by publicly supporting John Burton in this race — and this after I managed his opponent’s campaign in the last election. He’s exactly who we knew he was then, and my views haven’t changed in four years. The problem this year is his opponent, who I believe will bury his own — my own! — outsider party for two or three terms, if he wins.
Will you permit a metaphor? I’m hiring a school bus driver for a certain leg in a long bus trip. I may disagree with John Burton’s choice of route in some instances; we may not agree completely on which parking lot should be used at the final destination. But he’s the only one of the two candidates who I am confident can keep the bus on the road. That matters more to me than some differences in philosophy — and more than unofficial partisan affiliation — because the bus is filled with wonderful children, fine teachers, and the futures of both.
Jolley is a type: our modern local radical. He is hostile to government but unfamiliar with its workings, and utterly convinced that the righteousness of his own principles both excuses his own ignorance and lack of preparation, and qualifies him to lead us to our political (and in this case educational) salvation.
He’s also probably an excellent father and a fine dentist. But I already have one each of those, and those aren’t the positions for which he wishes us to hire him tomorrow.
For more information on this race, see David’s Handy Little Election Guide. I’ve also blogged lately about Burton’s and Jolley’s performances at a recent debate, where I explained my thinking in more detail.
American Fork’s PARC Sales Tax Increment
The influence of one of the two factions I mentioned above — the radical, toxic one — will be tested tomorrow in American Fork voters’ decision whether or not to pay one additional penny of sales tax on a ten-dollar purchase, in order to fund arts, parks, recreation, and cultural programs and facilities.
The radical opposition has been a case study — though a rather clumsy one — in using a grain of truth mixed with outright falsehoods to deceive the voters. (And no, not everything with footnotes is truth.) This is the same small, petulant faction who fooled enough voters last November to defeat a very sensible road bond proposal and elect two of their favorites to the American Fork City Council. (In fairness, I must say that exactly one of the two has turned out to be quite functional, so far — the one who was willing to learn.)
Tomorrow we’ll see how many American Forkers have realized already that they were duped last year, and have learned to recognize the same sort of fraud when the radicals attempt it again. It will be a very interesting datum in advance of next year’s city council elections.
For more discussion of this issue and its pathology, see “About PARC and the Larger Issue It Exposes.”
Whatever your position on these and other issues and candidates, please vote tomorrow, if you haven’t already. I suspect that higher turnout will increase the chance of sensible outcomes in all these races.
Besides that, voting renews for another year your right to complain or — dare I say? — to blog, if the spirit moves you.