Anatomy of an (authentic) American political campaign

Follow the 96-day evolution of a grass roots political campaign as an All-American rural community fights back against the political manipulation of their town board's election.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Day Eighty Nine

The rainy weather finally relented and so I got back on track with door to door campaiging. I've moved into my 5th district out of 7. I don't think I'll make much more. There's just so much to do and with early darkness, so little time.

I stayed out well past dark tonight. The night was relatively warm and I hated to bypass the good weather. People didn't seem to mind that I was ringing their doorbell after dark. The biggest problem is that I can't see house numbers and tree roots sticking up through walkways. I'm going to start carrying a flashlight from now on.

The political rhetoric is heating up across the county in the campaigns. Even some of the small town raaces for Supervisor and Tonw Council are taking some nasty turns. Here is Eden though, it seems fairly peaceful. I think all of us running for Town Board have made a concerted effort to run on our own merits rather than against anyone's record or platform. I like it that way. It feels like a much more above board process.

I had a lady engage me tonight about the lack of services in Eden. She wants better stores like Tim Hortons and a Martin's Super Market similiar to the one that just opened in nearby Derby. Said she was tired of always having to drive to Hamburg for the things she needs but that she knew things would never change as long as the issues are decided behind close doors and out of control of the people in the town.

At first I took issue with her statement, but as we talked I realized that some of her points were valid. It would be nice to have a full scale gourmet super market and a few more donwtonw businesses that would improve the quality of life here. The problem is that most merchants want a larger population base and a better traffic pattern than Eden offers.

As for the behind closed doors issue, when I asked what she meant she brought up a study that was published three or four years ago by the Town and the Chamber about new businesses in town. She was annoyed by the report in that it hyped an improved business climate in Eden based on the number of new businesses that had opened. Her point was that quite a few of the businesses listed in that report were already in place or simply expanded, and therefore weren't truly new.

I clearly remember that report, as it came out during my term as President of the chamber. Although there was an increase in new businesses during that time, a good percentage of the report was indeed smoke and mirrors. I thought so then and I stated so on many occassions to those in charge. At the time, no one really listened and they continued to hype what everyone knew to be an inflated report, obvioulsy believing that it didn't matter, no one would notice or know.

That's often the problem with people who get involved with government projects. They don't realize the damage they are doing by not telling the total truth. People aren't stupid and shading the truth only makes them angry and consequently suspicious in the future.

That lady gave me a lot to think about tonight.
 
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