Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Richardson's Next Mayor: Alan North

Alan North
Artist's rendering
Too soon? Hear me out. The Richardson City Council put a proposition on the November election ballot that asks voters to approve an amendment to the city charter to provide for the direction election of the mayor. Now it's up to the voters. Who's going to vote against a populist notion like letting voters choose their own mayor? So, expect the amendment to pass. That will change the May, 2013, city council elections. Instead of electing seven council members, voters will elect a mayor and six council members. Who has to be an early frontrunner for mayor? None other than the man who organized the petition that forced the council's hand -- Alan North.

After the jump, considering the chances of Richardson having a Mayor Alan North.



Alan North is Golden.

North has going for him the three things any candidate for public office needs.
  • His Base:

    Alan North challenged the establishment and won. That makes him a ready-made hero to the Tea Party. He won't have to introduce himself. He could announce his candidacy for mayor and immediately count on the support of ~40% of the electorate. He'll only need to attract another 10% of the electorate and he'll be the next mayor.

  • His Issue:

    Alan North will forever be known as the man behind giving voters the right to choose their own mayor. He can ride that success to city hall. It's an easy issue to explain. It's a populist issue. It's untouchable -- who can argue against giving voters more power? Run against North and you can be made to look like you are running against democracy.

  • His Money:

    North already proved he's got a bank account large enough to get 3,051 signatures on a petition and that he's willing to spend it. Likely, he can self-fund an even more expensive run for mayor. Professional consultants are a given. Direct mail should be no object. Even television is not out of reach.

     

Alan North is Toxic.

The counter-argument to a Mayor Alan North can't be dismissed easily. There are three things he will have to overcome to win a city-wide election.

  • His Resume:

    He has no history of civic involvement in Richardson. No boards or commissions, no PTA or Rotary Club, no nothing as far as I can tell. He did run for city council in 2011 but was mocked for being a man of mystery. He attended none of the candidate forums and responded to none of the candidate questionnaires. He's going to have to explain his past. He's going to have to convince voters that he knows something about the city and has the experience to be mayor.

  • His Enemies:

    Just as Alan North might have wrapped up 40% of the electorate by spearheading this referendum, at the same time he probably lost 40% of the electorate, too. Using a petition drive to make an end run around the city council is thumbing your nose at the city council and its establishment backers. The establishment has proven its influence in getting its endorsed candidates elected. In 2013, you can be sure one of them won't be Alan North.

  • His Friends:

    North's early backers tend to be the chronic complainers who see corruption and stink everywhere at city hall. You know the drill: city council members give away the city's money to business cronies. They violate state laws and the state constitution without fear of consequences. The city is going bankrupt building recreation centers and ball fields, running up unaffordable debt in the process. The outsiders lost every single council race in the last two elections, in part because voters couldn't recognize their own city in the over-the-top election campaigns run by the conspiracy-minded. North will have to distance himself from the extremists, if he wants to win election. Whether he even wants to distance himself is unknown.

So, there you have it. Alan North is Golden. Alan North is Toxic. Voters will either love him or hate him. The divisive world of politics has taken root in Richardson.

27 comments:

Hal Spradling said...

Alan C. North, our true North star ! !

Hal Spradling said...

Alan C. North, our true North star ! !

dc-tm said...

You make him sound a lot like Sarah Palin. People generally love her or hate her. Do you love or hate Alan, Mark? Or do you fall somewhere in-between?

Nathan Morgan said...

This is really humorous, especially the bottom line, "has taken root". Either somebody has been asleep, ignorant, or just in denial. The only thing different in Richardson politics is the daylight shining on it. Puppies are liberal until their eyes are opened. After staring at the decline out their windshield for decades, people are beginning to realize just how one-sided public service and politics has been. Now that the people are calling for a correction to that error-prone condition, those who have ruled the roost are predictably objecting.

Nathan Morgan said...

This is really humorous, especially the bottom line, "has taken root". Either somebody has been asleep, ignorant, or just in denial. The only thing different in Richardson politics is the daylight shining on it. Puppies are liberal until their eyes are opened. After staring at the decline out their windshield for decades, people are beginning to realize just how one-sided public service and politics has been. Now that the people are calling for a correction to that error-prone condition, those who have ruled the roost are predictably objecting.

mccalpin said...

So for the sake of clarity, Mark, according to the PAC's July 15 filing, Alan North contributed little of the PAC's money. The PAC claimed to have collected $1,800 (actually, they claimed $1,750, but Mr. North, the campaign treasurer, can't add very well), but Mr. North contributed only $200 of it.

Where did most of the money come from? You guessed it - from the old RCA crowd. David Chenoweth, Mac McDowell, and Bob Williams kicked in $1,000 of that $1,800.

Bill

glbeach said...

I'm not so confident that voters will simply roll over on the mayoral election. I think you may be congratulating Mr. North and colleagues too soon.

Sally Harris said...

Why is it relevant who donated? From what I am learning from some neighbors, the feud in Richardson just a few folks on both sides. Often, there is a more truthful story given when there are two sides with different perspectives.

The larger observation is how little money it took to get a petition accomplished. That is impressive.

mccalpin said...

My point was that despite Mark's likely tongue-in-cheek comments, there's no evidence that Mr. North has loads of money. During his City Council campaign last year, he spent little or no money at all. Same here with the petition where he showed no signs of being willing to spend whatever it took to get the job done.

As for being impressed that the petition was accomplished on $1,800, well, it wasn't. The PAC's own report claims that they spent $4,000...and even that seems suspiciously low...

Bill

Sally Harris said...

Please excuse my ignorance, but why would a PAC be any kind of evidence of anyone's net worth?? I have a hard time finding the relevance in your conclusion. Wouldn't is be better to ask Mr North directly, because you appear to be guessing at your conclusions? Maybe he is just a good businessman. I don't know him, but it seems to me you are looking for the worst in the man for some reason.

As far as the $4000 spent, that is still inexpensive to me. I made the earlier comment trusting you gave the full story. Yet I see that was not true. Is there always more to come from you in telling a story?

Mark Steger said...

"Sally Harris," commenting rules require that commenters identify themselves. Your profile is indistinguishable from a sockpuppet. That's not good enough.

Sally Harris said...

I have identified myself by my name. I do not understand your comment.

Hal Spradling said...

Mr. McCalpin, I agree with Sally, it does appear as if you are looking for the worst in Mr. North.I am also confused by your comment "same here with the petition where he showed no signs of being willing to spend whatever it took to get the job done?" Isn't it going on the ballot in November? Seems like the job got done. Are you against allowing the citizens of Richardson the right to vote directly for their mayor?

Mark Steger said...

"Hal Spradling," commenting rules require that commenters identify themselves. Your profile is indistinguishable from a sockpuppet. That's not good enough.

dc-tm said...

Sally, McCalpin has tried to contact Alan directly telling him that it would be best to answer his questions, or else. Alan, for obvious and sound reasons, has refused to talk to McCalpin.

David Chenoweth

mccalpin said...

Ms. Harris, please read what I actually wrote, not what you think I wrote.

1. My point on Mr. North is that, contrary to what Mark said "North already proved he's got a bank account large enough to get 3,051 signatures on a petition and that he's willing to spend it", he has not demonstrated it by either his campaign spending in 2011 nor by the contributions to the PAC in 2012.

I did not say anywhere that Mr. North doesn't have a lot of money; what I clearly said that he hasn't done anything yet to show that he has a lot of money and would be willing to use it. If you see any evidence to the contrary, please let us know.

2. "but it seems to me you are looking for the worst in the man for some reason. " Since I was pointing out the inaccuracy of Mark's statement (perhaps hyperbole), it makes no sense for you to assume that I am criticizing Mr. North...it would have made a lot more sense if you thought that I was criticizing Mark.

3. " made the earlier comment trusting you gave the full story. " No where did I suggest that I was giving the "full story". Indeed, there is far more to this story than I have even now relayed here, but since some of it will indeed be highly critical of certain people in this City, I have declined to give it here, given Mark's desire to keep the conversation civilized.

If you want the full story, you will see it developing at www.RumorCheck.org, where I debunk many of the political rumors that swirl around this City.

Bill

Sally Harris said...

I guess I am going to show a bit of ignorance on Richardson again, but here we go with a few questions. I am trying to understand what you wrote.

1) Admittedly, I do not have knowledge of what papers you are quoting. How does the form tell you what Mr North is willing or able to do?

I was impressed he took on the initiative and completed the objective by filing the petition. Is the petition accepted by the Council? Is the direct election of the Mayor going to be on the ballot or is there more to do? If there is more to do, what needs to be done? How much money has to be spent to be serious by your standards? For anyone to give any money to a political organization is serious by my estimation?

2 and 3) Why do you need to be "highly critical" of Mark Steger or Alan North at all? Do you even know Mr Steger or Mr North to be critical of them? Why wouldn't you keep this conversation civilized and not be civilized on your page?

Based on what you have written so far, I would believe you do not like either person.

mccalpin said...

Mark, there is no "Sally Harris" registered to vote in Richardson in either county, although there is a "Sara Harris" and a "Sarah Harris" in Dallas County. Perhaps this is a nickname or perhaps Ms. Harris is not registered to vote or perhaps this name is a sockpuppet as you suggest...

Bill

mccalpin said...

Mr. Spradling, your comment "it does appear as if you are looking for the worst in Mr. North" makes no sense. You are misreading what I wrote, since I only pointed out that Mr. North didn't show that he had lots of money, as Mark's probably tongue-in-cheek comment suggested. The worst thing I said about Mr. North himself is that he can't add very well, which is the truth when you have a very short list of six numbers to add, and you still get it wrong.

Your comment "I am also confused by your comment 'same here with the petition where he showed no signs of being willing to spend whatever it took to get the job done?' " also makes no sense. Where is the evidence that he spent enough money to get the job done? He kicked in only $200. It was Chenoweth and McDowell and Williams who kicked in enough money to get the job done.

"Are you against allowing the citizens of Richardson the right to vote directly for their mayor?" As I have noted before, there is no such "right" to vote directly for the mayor, neither in the US nor State Constitutions. If you find such a "right" (you know, like in the Bill of Rights"), please let us know.

Quite the contrary, in Texas, home rule cities get to choose how they want to elect the mayor. "Rights" have nothing to do with it.

Bill

mccalpin said...

Mark, it will come as no surprise to you that there is no "Hal Spradling" registered to vote in Richardson in either county, nor anything close (like Harold).

In fact, there are no Spradlings at all registered to vote in Collin County (Richardson), and only one such family registered to vote in Dallas County (Richardson)...and they live on the same street as Mr. Chenoweth just 7 houses down...coincidence? Sounds like spoofing to me...

Bill

mccalpin said...

Oh, yes, David, I did contact Mr. North...but not "or else". This is your spin on what was a very reasonable request to Mr. North to make a public statement other than in a press release.

My email, sent June 4th:
"Mr. North,

I am Bill McCalpin, Editor of RumorCheck.org. I am looking for information about the group, Richardson Citizens for a More Democratic Government.

As perhaps you have heard, Chris Cutrone, who calls himself the Executive Director of the group, hung up on me when I asked him about the group and its leaders. Frankly, this does not make the group look good.

If you read the RumorCheck.org website, you will see that I heavily document the research I do, and quote people as often as possible. I invite you to make a statement about the group, perhaps stating who the leaders are or perhaps explaining why the Form 8871 was not correctly completed by Mr. Cutrone or explaining why the group has not yet filed a Form STA with the City Secretary when it appears certain that the group has exceeded the $500 floor for contributions and expenditures.

I believe that secrecy in public affairs does not benefit either the public or the group trying to keep something secret. Please consider this your opportunity to open up about who the group is. I will quote you as much as possible (reserving the edit to edit for length).

Thanks...

Bill"

As all of you can see, I did not threaten Mr. North but gave him a reasonable opportunity to talk about "his" group. If you are a reader of RumorCheck.org, you will see that I do quote people exactly the way they want, not threaten them with "or else".

Despite Mr. Chenoweth's bombast, there are no obvious nor sound reasons why Mr. North should not have replied to me...and you know this to be true because Mr. Chenoweth won't enumerate the reasons, he'll just claim that there are some. It is a time-worn rhetorical trick to make a unsupported claim in the hopes that no one will notice...too bad, David, you got caught...

Bill

Sassy Texan said...

Bill,
As one who has had a few conversations with Alan North, there IS a very sound reason Alan has not responded to you. And you disclose it every time you write something on this blog and your own. He can read too.

Cheri Duncan-Hubert

Sassy Texan said...

Mark, What do you mean exactly? If you mean by "always advance the conversation", to continue dialog on topic without an attack, please speak to Bill. It appears that his dialogue is taking the topic off course. Thanks.

Cheri

Mark Steger said...

There's a reason that the commenting rules ask that commenters "always advance the conversation." Personal attacks on other commenters do not comply with that request and won't be posted.

mccalpin said...

I repeat: "It is a time-worn rhetorical trick to make a unsupported claim in the hopes that no one will notice."

Cheri, this won't work any better for you than it did for David. Your comment doesn't address the issue that I initially brought up, nor does "advance" the conversation. It is simply an empty attack.

Frankly, you should advise Mr. North to respond to me, because the refusals of Mr. North and Mr. Cutrone to correspond with me or to even speak with me on the phone has to make the readers of this blog wonder what they are afraid of.

Bill

dc-tm said...

Thank you Mark for reminding Bill of the rules. He seems to need reminding very often.

David Chenoweth

dc-tm said...

Personal attacks won't be published unless made by McCalpin. That is what it seems to be the case. :0)