Friday, May 6, 2011

Five Things I Learned About Place 5

The Richardson Idol viewers already made their choice (and by viewers I mean, of course, me). They picked Dennis Stewart over Kendal Hartley. Why? Who knows. You can read their reasons here, but be warned. Viewers of TV reality shows are fickle. There are no rules they have to follow. Sometimes they are influenced by what the candidates say on stage. Sometimes they are influenced by off stage behavior. There's no requirement that they actually do any ... research or anything hard like that. So, you have to make allowances for some of their decisions (that is, *my* decisions, if you're following along).

After the jump, five things I learned about Place 5 that might make me change my mind.

  1. In The Dallas Morning News Voter Guide, under "Previous civic involvement/accomplishments," Hartley has a list of positions and activities the length of your arm. Stewart lists one: Richardson City Councilman - 2007-2009.

  2. In answer to Voter Guide question, "What are the three most important actions you would take if elected?" Stewart listed: review the city charter, gain an access point to the US 75 HOV lane, attract new businesses. Really? The HOV lane is more important than neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment? Really? So is changing the way the mayor is selected? Really? Hartley says, "economic development, transportation, and redevelopment." Under transportation he includes the Cotton Belt Line, not the US 75 HOV lane.

  3. When he served on City Council, Stewart voted against a playground. That's right, a playground. See here. :-( That's a frowny face. I think it's appropriate in this context. I knew he opposed the construction of a senior living center in Richardson's panhandle. Now I know he's against a kids' playground, too.

  4. Stewart opposed the 2010 Bond Proposal. See here. I didn't know that -- perhaps because my memory is short. Stewart now says he "supported and voted in favor of a majority of the Bond Program." See here. Maybe Stewart's memory is short, too. Or maybe he's counting on voters' memories being short. Either way, this is bad.

  5. Stewart is supported by the Richardson Citizens Alliance (RCA). You know, the PAC with the negative attack ads. Stewart has taken money from the RCA. Stewart has not, to my knowledge, criticized anything the PAC has said or done. He is staining his own reputation by association with this PAC.

Is all this enough to get this viewer to change his mind? It's getting more likely by the day. Place 5 was originally my second most difficult decision (after Place 2). I was swayed initially by the fact that I knew little of Kendal Hartley. He didn't sell himself in the forums. That might be sufficient reason to vote someone off a TV reality show, but is it good enough to cast your ballot against him in the voting booth? I don't think so. And the more I learn about Place 5, the more likely it is that I, as a voter, am *not* going to go along with what I, the judge of Richardson Idol, decided. If you see a coin flip above the curtain on election day, that might be me in the booth. If you see the coin come up for Dennis Stewart, don't be surprised if you hear the voter mutter, best two out of three.

Political ad paid for by Mark Steger

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