Monday, June 12, 2006

Election 2006

Tomorrow is the big day for local candidates. In Grand Forks, voters will be (or should be) going to the polls to vote for their choice of new city council members in Wards 2, 4, and 6. Citizens will also vote for park district and school board candidates.

While I don't think I'll take the "easy way out" like the Herald and refuse to actually endorse any candidates, I won't actually "endorse" either. I'm just going to tell you who I think will win and who I think should win. I'm not telling you how to vote...I leave that up to you.

Ward 2
It will be interesting to see who wins in the city's hotly contested Ward 2 race. This ward makes up a major chunk of the north end of Grand Forks. There are five candidates: Jon Dorner, Thomas Kenville, Mike McNamara, Peder Rice, and Cameron Stewart.

While I originally thought that McNamara would be the frontrunner, Tu-Uyen's recent poll - and my instincts - show otherwise. McNamara has a decent website, but how many citizens even know about it? I just don't think Grand Forks is ready to elect a council member who is currently overseas (Iraq) and will be so for the near future. He will not promise that he will not re-inlist if elected. Also, I'm thinking that there are people out there who, like me, see problems with a council member having a daily radio show. How would he prevent himself from using his show to promote his personal agenda for the city? Peder Rice is an interesting candidate, but I think voters will see him as too much of a newcomer to Grand Forks politics. Also, why must he call the Alerus Center a fiasco? That's not exactly going to win him my vote...not that I can vote in Ward 2. Jon Dorner has run in the past, but hasn't won so why would this time be any different? I'm sure he's a fine candidate, but I don't see him winning. Cameron Stewart has no chance, in my opinion. A candidate who has fallen asleep at a city council meeting, appears confused about local issues, and "didn't have time" to speak with the Herald's editorial board doesn't seem to show much interest in actually representing the people. This leaves us with Thomas Kenville. I think that Kenville has the best chance of winning the race because he should appeal to those in the ward who are connected to UND and he has a background in both the public and private sectors. I'm still not 100% sure what his agenda for the city is, but I would like to find out.

Who will win: Thomas Kenville
Who should win: Thomas Kenville

Ward 4
With only the incumbent, Hal Gershman, running in this ward, I think I'll be clever and forecast another four years for Hal. Heck, I know I would vote for him if I lived in that ward. I would vote for him for mayor, if he ever chooses to run.

Who will win: Hal Gershman
Who should win: Hal Gershman

Ward 6
There are two candidates seeking the seat in Ward 6: former council member Art Bakken and relative "newcomer" Tom Potter.

Although I think I would like to see Potter win tomorrow, I feel that we're going to be seeing Bakken return to the governing body he left a few years back. I don't appreciate Bakken's feeling that he doesn't need to campaign. It is unfortunate that a candidate who doesn't feel that he needs to actually try to win will probably ultimately be the winner. It seems lazy and overly confident. I'm not too hot on Potter's idea to freeze property taxes because I see that causing many hardships for the city and a general weakening of the quality of life in Grand Forks. However, I do like the new voice that Potter would bring to council meetings. I'm not really that hot on either candidate, but I think I would go with Potter.

Who will win: Art Bakken
Who should win: Tom Potter

So I urge all of you to go out and vote tomorrow. You can't really complain about city government when you haven't participated in the election process.

Take a look at Dakota's comments on the city council candidates and the candidates for park district and school board. Good work, Dakota.


Anonymous said...

Please don't encourage Hal Gershman to run for mayor...

Anonymous said...

I second that!!!

Anonymous said...

If not gershman, then who would you like to see as mayor. Hal would certainly be better than the incumbent.

wendian said...

Good predictions GFG, I think you're right on target.

I think Hal would make a great mayor, much more so than say, Doug Christianson.

Anonymous said...

Hal for mayor? Oh please, are you people serious?

Come to think of it, it may be a good deal. A good campaign race may expose him for the true snake that he in fact is. Evidently there's like 3 people in town who haven't realized that yet.

Anonymous said...

A snake all the way! If anything tries to come into town that may affect him he won't let it come in.

ec99 said...

"A good campaign race may expose him for the true snake that he in fact is."

" If anything tries to come into town that may affect him he won't let it come in."

Just out of curiosity, could you cite some examples?

Anonymous said...

" If anything tries to come into town that may affect him he won't let it come in."

#1: Marvin Windows - Gershman worked as hard as he could to refuse Marvin's entry into Grand Forks, because he knew that it would provide higher paying jobs than he pays his slav... employees at Happy Harry's.

#2: Motor Coach Industries - A bus manufacturing company was trying to come into GF but was heavily campaigned against by, yep, Gershman, because of the fear of the higher paying factory jobs.

#3: Gershman and several others have tried to force potentially new technology-based companies into the poor communications infrastructure of Downtown, thereby turning away tech businesses that ended up in Fargo.

That's just three off the top of my head, and you can see a motive for the first two. The third one, I can only imagine that Gershman holds property leases in the downtown area.

Peder Rice said...

Then why does the city of Grand Forks continue to vote for guys like Gershman? Honestly, anyone have an answer?

I think it's because he's a safe bet. Protectionism feels safe, and growth is a scary, monumental task that doesn't always pay. And Gershman represents keeping things exactly as they are right now.

I venture to say that the number of people truly interesting in a growing Grand Forks is small, and the number that will support Gershman quite high.

ec99 said...

"and you can see a motive for the first two."

Actually I can't, if you are implying highly skilled jobs will force the wages of his unskilled clerks to go up. If you are saying he's afraid they will cause wages in GF to go up across the board, that may be different, but unlikely.