Since I entered this race at the end of July, I have been patiently observing some of the inner workings of local political groups.
One the things I have been hearing throughout this time is the term “name recognition.” Another thing I have been told by many people is how “expensive” it is going to be to run a “successful campaign” in this election. I have also been shown by last election’s numbers how accurate the phrase, “follow the money” is as it relates to number and election results in Chico.
First off, I would like to state for the record that I had never heard of Karl Ory before I was told that he had received the official endorsement vote from the Butte County Democratic Central Committee. As far as “name recognition” goes, I’m not sure he’s as well known to the general public as one might imagine he would be. Perhaps this has more to do with the public’s disconnect from local government than with Mr. Ory’s level of personal fame, but that’s another issue.
Secondly, that information was only relayed to me via e-mail on Thursday, August 11th at 7:37AM, before Karl Ory’s name had even been listed on the City’s website as having submitted an 501 Intent to Run form. This was also less than 48 hours before all the final candidates were even certified as official nominees at the closing of the nomination period, which was Friday the 12th at 5PM.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the idea of a political action committee with that much clout calling a final vote before all the names were in and before one of the names had even submitted a legally recognized intention to run strikes me as poorly timed and inconsiderate of other candidates’ right to be involved in political process. This shows a pretentious favoritism toward particular candidates based on current or past personal relationships and not on impartial, logic-based group-decision making.
Thirdly, I would like to state that I have been a patient fan of Ann Schwab’s for several years now and HAVE most certainly heard of her. I think she wins the contest for name recognition…however, someone’s name should really have nothing to do with their ability to participate in the democratic process, much less to be a prudent choice as a representative in local politics.
I, along with the rest of Chico and folks in the surrounding areas, have seen Ann Schwab make some bold and daring calls for sustaining the spirit of Chico and she has undoubtedly been a champion of sustainable transportation in our City for several years. No one is questioning her values or her assertiveness in the face of various controversy.
What I have also witnessed on more than a handful of occasions is Ann Schwab being forced to (or sometimes simply CHOOSING to) recuse herself from a number of important Council decisions and not having her voice be heard. This includes just about anything having to do with Bidwell Park, as she lives within 500ft of it. You can see for yourself in Minutes from Council Meetings dated as far back as at least 2008 and listed publicly on the City’s website that she has also been recused of items concerning Downtown because she owns a shop there.
These have been times when I very much felt her vote should be counted by was unable to be. She has been unable, for whatever reasons, to cast her vote in a number of instances where it seemed it would have made a world of difference. Despite feeling that her views and mindset largely represent mine, she’s been unable to fully fill her role as a representative of myself and many others in this community. Additionally, it just seems time to give someone else a chance to step forward before she burns herself out completely.
This is why, 2016 will mark the first year that I have been able to vote and will not be casting a vote for her. I do not discount or devalue more than a decade of advocacy and her outstanding service to our community. She has a huge realm of influence and experience in local politics. Unfortunately, her voice will continue to go unheard unless she recognizes the need to step down from an official seat on City Council. Her voice can still be heard and her constituents can still be represented, just quite honestly, not really by her holding a seat on our City Council.
As many have stated, Karl Ory has done a lot of good for this community and has been a proponent of progress and reason in our fair City for many decades. We all, I am sure, appreciate his hard work and his passion for organized delegation. To echo a friend, I think it’s very important to notice that yes, Ory has accomplished all this while not taking up a seat on City Council. I believe he has experience. I believe he, like Ann Schwab, is a good person. Both of them seem to have their hearts in the right place, so to speak. The question we really have to consider is, will they be most effective in their visions by reserving seats on the Council?
I welcome the discussion here or elsewhere and I hope you, as well as any other impassioned voters, will consider what I have shared here and reply in kind with logical conclusions and sound reason.
For those of you who have made it this far, I invite you to like my official facebook page to follow this, and other, discussions regarding local politics; and my personal willingness and ABILITY to represent and serve our community.