Tuesday, November 13, 2007
An unstrategic vote for Clarkson
Editor B has a post up and debate in the comments about the city council at-large run off, coming up on Saturday. There has been some gossip going around that we should vote for Cynthia Willard-Lewis because the Feds are investigating her and she’s the next to go down. The logic goes that we will get two new council members, one to replace Cynthia in New Orleans East, and another at-large election when she resigns in shame.
I’m against this kind of “strategic voting.” It’s not “strategic” at all, it’s just plain dumb because we voters really have no idea what is going on. Given the choices I have, I am voting for Jackie Clarkson, and it’s really a no-brainer to me.
I agree. The type of voting that too often passes as "strategic" in Nola is more of a self-inflicted "mindfreak"
than anything else. It's a way to appear interesting by overthinking things. It's a way to have it both ways, and save face: "Yeah, Nagin's horrible, but at least he won't be running for re-election in 2010!" and "Yeah, Jefferson's a crook, but when he gets convicted we can have another election and maybe someone better will emerge!" [I'm not implying that Editor B. holds these views. He merely described this type of "logic".]
Inventing some wild scenario about why electing the worst candidate will hasten some larger, future fantasy is just a roundabout way of being "interesting", and being able to complain about things no matter how they turn out. "I expected him to fail"... etc. It's also an opportunity to tell everyone about your wild triple bank shot fantasy rationale, so you can feel smart for having the strategic insight to avoid the lesser of two apparent "evils".
All things considered, is Jackie Clarkson clearly preferable
to Cynthia Willard Lewis? Probably so. I think so. However flawed, she's a known quantity. And her authoritarian streak might be an asset when going up against Nagin. (Clarkson doesn't believe such confrontations will be necessary, and we'll see about that. But she's not someone who will get railroaded.) Clarkson is well-versed in parliamentary maneuvers. Tellingly, Nagin endorsed
Cynthia Willard-Lewis (despite her fierce words
last year), and the Times Picayune endorsed Jackie Clarkson
... on Monday
. Those are good indicators that Clarkson is the preferable candidate. Today's T-P teases out
some other differences between the (excessively friendly) candidates:
One area where [the candidates] differ is on what immediate steps City Hall should take to promote economic development.
Clarkson advocates an overhaul that would hand the task to a board comprising representatives from the business departments of local colleges and universities. Willard-Lewis said she would place an emphasis on providing grants to small businesses and partnering them with large contractors.
The candidates also offer slightly different takes on the job performance of Ed Blakely, the city's recovery director.
Willard-Lewis gives Blakely a grade of C-minus, saying he has done a good job of fashioning a rebuilding strategy, but a poor job when it comes to implementing that strategy.
Clarkson has a harsher view, saying that Blakely is "not doing the job he ought to be doing."
As an example, she cited the trailers that continue to house police officers and firefighters. Clarkson said the city waited far too long to reach out to the private sector for help in solving the problem.
In the runoff, Clarkson has stepped up her fund-raising effort, taking in about $400,000 -- a total that includes $25,000 she loaned her campaign in the primary. Clarkson has received financial support from many of the city's business leaders.
Willard-Lewis has raised about $150,000, much of it from City Hall vendors and other government contractors.
Labels: City Council, Dollar bill, Elections and Campaigns, Nagin
"and the Times Picayune endorsed Jackie Clarkson... on Monday. Those are good indicators that Clarkson is the preferable candidate."
T-P endorsements mean less and less to me, especially considering their priorities.
And with Jackie Clarkson's view on the homeless, I am not convinced she is what is needed in New Orleans.
CWL getting money from government contractors does bother me. However, I know people who lived in Clarkson's previous district and they know that Jackie is for Jackie first, second, third, and forth. Then the people she likes. Then if they are lucky, everyone else gets a small tiny little bone.
Inventing some wild scenario about why electing the worst candidate will hasten some larger, future fantasy is just a roundabout way of being "interesting", and being able to complain about things no matter how they turn out. "I expected him to fail"... etc. It's also an opportunity to tell everyone about your wild triple bank shot fantasy rationale, so you can feel smart for having the strategic insight to avoid the lesser of too apparent "evils".
That nails it, exactly. Vote for the freaking candidate you want to win, already and shut the hell up.
On the other hand, I... kind of like Daniel... tend to consider T-P endorsements red flags.
Gambit is actually split right down the middle on this one, too. They pretty much agree with Jeffrey (GASP!!!).
I meant to put the emphasis on "Monday" there. A T-P endorsement on Sunday (Jindal), or on the front page (Nagin) is a red flag.
A reluctant T-P endorsement on a Mon or Wed (Mitch Landrieu) before the election is a much better indicator.
Oops, I'll have to fix that "too" typo.
CWL stinks, her contributors represent a whose who of city contractors and has been rolling over for C Ray whenever it really counts.
Jackie is an opportunist, egotistical, and a bit nutty, but on quite a number of issues she's on the right side. She has fairly consistently supported neighborhood groups and has been relatively accessible to her constituents. She resoundingly supports removing City Council power to overrule City Planning and HDLC decisions, and was for fully funding the inspector general. I do not see her rolling over for C Ray except to steam roll him. And there are no accusations of corruption that have ever held up.
I have to go with Jackie, and I am quite comfortable doing so. This is the best we've got right now. Some of her positions bother me, and I am sure she will have plenty of nutty proposals, but we are electing her council member, not emperor; it takes four votes to get anything done.
It does take 4 votes to get things done, so that argument can also be said about CWL as well.
I personally know former constituents of Jackie's that could not get access to her when needed. So I am not sure what it takes to get access to her, but just being a constituent is not one of them.
I'm holding my nose and voting for Clarkson, under the theory that maybe losing an election last go-round gave her a little humility.
But I doubt it.
It's kind of odd because both campaigns obviously feel very confident that they have the votes to win. I'm sure both think it's a matter of turning out "their" voters.
I'll predict Clarkson 51.5% Willard Lewis 48.5%.
I'll call it the same numbers but the opposite way... while agreeing completely with your description there.
I'm not sure if Daniel Z. is expressing the consensus opinion. I moved out of the Quarter before Clarkson got elected, but i got the impression it was some bar owners that didn't like, she was actually pretty popular with her constituents. She always reminded me of that lady i hated in the principal's office, but that's no reason to vote for Willard-Lewis. I was never as down on W-L as most bloggers, until the IG fiasco and her insistence on trying to get the city to pickup Metro's garbage. BTW.
If you're anything of a preservationist, Clarkson is your only choice. If you believe in "balance," the mayor isn't exactly a preservationist.
Anybody in District A will have a thoroughly marginalized representative if Willard-Lewis gets elected.
Gasp! I agree with Jeffrey's prediction. I think CWL will pull it out, but I am usually wrong about this sort of thing.
What the consensus says and what actually happens can be two different things. It is quite possible that people may believe she offers "good" constituent services and in reallity she may be awful.
Of course perception is reallity, especially in politics. If she gets enough people to say that she was an accessable councilmember, then others may believe it.
I, of course, don't agree with the "strategery" discussed at the beginning of this post. Vote for someone because that person is the best person for a job... not because of the future possible results that might happen if an investigation shows that CWL is guilty of soemthing.
But with Clarkson's comments about the homeless and with what I know from others who have lived in her district, I am less than enthusiastic about the idea of having her on the New Orleans City Council again.
Thank you for understanding that I don't subscribe to the "logic" I described.