Saturday, April 13, 2019

It's All Partisan Now

Much has been made in Richardson's City Council election about the presence of party politics in a supposedly non-partisan election. The subject took up way too much space in my own latest blog article. So why am I devoting an entire blog article to it? Because I think what's happening in Plano puts the issue to bed in Richardson once and for all. Like it or not, once the governor of Texas jumps into the fray, the field is open for all.

According to an article in The Dallas Morning News by Gromer Jeffers Jr., "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed two candidates in Plano council contests — an extraordinary move that injects a partisan voice in the city’s growing debate over development and taxes." More, "State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, ... said he welcomed Abbott’s foray into local politics. Shaheen, a former Collin County Commissioner, said he likes 'the idea of the Republican Party getting involved in non-partisan, local races. ... Republicans should endorse local candidates that share their values,' Shaheen said."

Despite what many think, a nonpartisan election legally just means the ballot won't have an "R" or a "D" after the candidate's name. So we're not talking about anything illegal in any of this, only what used to be viewed by some as unseemly. Like it or not, accepted notions of propriety are changing.

I have always wanted state and national political parties to stay out of local elections. Potholes won't get fixed faster, garbage won't get collected faster, if people take sides based on what they think of Donald Trump. I've always preferred when local elections are run on, let's say, a "Don't ask, don't tell" basis. Party affiliation simply shouldn't be an issue.

That notion is looking quaint. Gov. Abbott's foray into Plano's city council election might be unfortunate, but it isn't illegal. And it gives the Republican governor's personal imprimatur for Democrats to be involved in Richardson's election. We can regret how divisive party politics might damage cooperative local government, but that's how Gov. Abbott wants the game to be played. It would be hypocritical to complain when others play the game, too.


Cory Montfort said...

No one is saying both sides don't do it, they do. But taking a picture with an elected partisan politician is a far cry from the coordinated efforts of RAD and their slate, website, mailers, block walking strategy, etc.

Also, I may write a blog about how your reCAPTCHA makes my skin itch! :)

Mark Steger said...

Cory, thanks for the feedback. I'll turn off the CAPTCHA, but I reserve the right to turn it back on if the comment spam gets annoying. Fair enough?

Mark Steger said...

Ana-Maria Ramos, Democratic state representative from Richardson, posted her support for four candidates in Richardson's non-partisan City Council election, and included a link to Richardson Area Democrats. Ana-Maria Ramos is not Governor Abbott, but then Richardson is not Plano. I'd say the Dems are overstepping the line into partisan electioneering much more than the Republicans are in Richardson. What makes it worse is the hypocrisy of the claims that they are not being partisan.

Mauri Long said...

There are a couple of candidates with pictures of themselves and GOP elected officials or past ones. You have candidates that are supported by a group that believes only property owners should be allowed to vote ( I hope that 3/5 of a person isn't on their agenda also). So just calling out those that our Texas State Congresswoman supports is a little one sided. Also, RAD is a group of activist, residents and voters. Past candidates took support from all of the same people, so it is disingenuous to condemn those same people. I think it is time for many to realize that we all live in glass houses and calling out some candidates but not others is not bi-partisan either.

Mark Steger said...

Mauri Long, thanks for the response. On the subject of partisan politics, I have restricted my comments to political party involvement in city elections, specifically involvement by the Democratic and Republican Parties. In my post, I mentioned Republican Gov. Abbott, so I felt it fair to mention a Democratic officeholder when I saw similar behavior on that side of the aisle. I know that Kyle Kepner once posted a photo of himself with former Congressman Pete Sessions. I believe that it was inadvisable for him to post that and was pleased when he deleted it. I'm not aware of other situations, and I'm not asking for people to post a laundry list of such instances. Personally, I wish it would just stop, but I realize it's not illegal and candidates may have other ideas of what their best campaign strategy involved.