“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.” Lewis Carroll
The time has come to check our ballots and we have some tough choices ahead of us and in some instances, no choice. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to be able to discuss some state and local ballot issues but for now I want to focus on the commission races.
The easiest race, in my opinion, is position number three between Don Gurney and Melissa Cribbins. As much as I would love to see a woman on the board and a young woman at that Cribbins acceptance of contributions from for-profit special interest entities like CCAP, coupled with her inability to recognize how accepting these funds is perceived by the public, disqualifies her as an impartial candidate. The extreme views espoused by the CCAP PAC to enable a “single point of control” type of governance and turn oversight of the county to part time volunteers rather than full time accountable commissioners is Cribbins only announced platform. Well, that and supporting every dirty, 19th century, fossil fuel extractive industry those unimaginative folks at the port come up with in the name of economic development.
Gurney, on the other hand, expects and wants to work full time as a commissioner and while I believe he may place too much emphasis on federal timber as a source of future county revenue, he is partly responsible for the successful county forests and subsequent multimillion dollar reserve fund. Unlike Cribbins, Gurney actually attends meetings and knows what is going on and appears to have badly needed critical thinking skills. Most importantly, he is honest and unlike his opponent, unswayed by the sparkle of monied special interests.
Number three is easy, numbers two and one… not so much. Of the two candidates vying for position two, John Sweet and Tim Bishop, the former is by far the more palatable of the two. For starters, Sweet does not speak with a grating, fingernails down the blackboard whine like his opponent and he seems both amiable and approachable and infinitely more intelligent. Nevertheless, Sweet is also a rat PAC approved devotee of centralized power and prefers to turn the job over to a hired superhero. My write-in choice for position two is Randy Sanne and Jody McCaffree and Larry Van Elsberg ware also excellent choices.
Position one between Fred Messerle and Bob Main is, in my opinion, the toughest choice. It’s not that it isn’t obvious Messerle is incompetent, even his own supporters agree he isn’t qualified, or that four more years of Messerle wouldn’t be even more disastrous than the last seventeen months but the alternative is to reelect the very person responsible for fueling this runaway freight train. Main has made some disastrous decisions and his fingerprints are all over the selections of both Adam Colby and Steve Jansen for assessor and of course the appointments of Messerle and the other colossal failure, Cam Parry. Does the voter reward Main for these grievous mistakes by reelecting him or simply not vote for either which will likely throw the race to a pawn/frontman for the machinations of the old, has been white males behind the CCAP?
If Messerle is elected the rat PAC board will no doubt be emboldened to take even more extreme steps backward to 19th century resource extraction and rampant deregulation so chopping Messerle off at the knees would chasten their march. Still, as bad as Messerle is, and he is a complete disaster who never worked for anyone but his dad and has no obvious leadership skills, his procedural mistakes and ethical blunders are so many and so egregious, in my opinion, he may well be the first commissioner frog-marched out of the courthouse. If nothing else it would make for some entertaining blog posts and enact some legislative or law enforcement oversight.
Personally, I don’t like false choices like picking between the lesser of two evils. My vote is the only pressure I can bring to bear on elected officials to attain the standards I believe are necessary. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil therefore I encourage everyone to have some heart-to-heart talks with Bob Main, (Main clearly knows more about the county than Messerle), secure his commitment to listen to and respect the public this term before making a choice between he and viable write-in options. We can’t expect a write-in to win at this late stage but can at least vote with a clear conscience.