Winning a local election

October 13, 2009


This post is intended for anyone who has ever thought about running for a local election, but didn’t know how to start planning an election campaign. Winning elections doesn’t just happen by accident. Winning elections is hard work. However, there is help.

The best book I have read on how to run for local office is … How to Run for Local Office by Robert J. Thomas. I highly recommend this book. If you don’t want to spend $19.95 for the book you probably don’t want to win an election very bad.

If you do want to try to win an election on the cheap, then at least visit Local Victory – Your Guide to Winning Elections.  This website has a warehouse of articles on running and winning elections.

If anyone knows of another book or website that can be a valuable campaign tool please leave a comment with your recommendation.


Just trees?

October 12, 2009


I was a student at UW-Eau Claire  on  May 4, 1970.  Anyone who was a student anywhere on May 4, 1970 remembers what happened on that date.

For anyone else who doesn’t remember that date,  Dan Lyksett of the Eau Claire Leader Telegram recalls in this story about construction of a new student center.

On May 4, four Kent State students were shot dead by National Guardsmen during a campus protest rally. On May 8, 1970, several days of angry but peaceful student protests in Eau Claire culminated in the creation of a memorial to the fallen students. Four crab apple trees were planted in a corner of the mall.

A plaque near the trees reads: “These trees – symbols of life and peace – are planted this day, May 8, 1970, in memory of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, students at Kent State University in Ohio who were killed on May 4, 1970.”

One of the trees later died and was replaced.

I checked with Mike Rindo, executive director of the university’s communications staff, who confirmed the construction of the new student center will displace the Kent State memorial. He said alumni who were involved in the May 1970 creation of the memorial are being consulted as the university works to find an acceptable replacement. He said the university is confident they’ll find an acceptable solution.

And maybe that’s OK. Maybe we sometimes need to balance our respect for the past with our duty to the future.

After all, they’re just trees, right?

Trees are a renewable resource. I have never had a problem with any tree coming done for any building project (if necessary) as long as new trees are planted to replace those being killed. I have been in many disagreements over the years on this kind of tree issue.

Here I go again.

Yes, they are just trees.

Guts and Ingenuity

October 9, 2009


Candidates for election will do anything, at times, to get noticed. Royal Barber of Sylvania Township in Ohio came up with an idea I would have never thought of. He placed the names of his rivals for the township trustee position on Halloween tombstones in his yard.


Naturally, one of his opponents did not find the humor in it and demanded his name be taken off. There has to be a killjoy for everything. Mr. Barber complied with the request.

Another opponent, Penny Levine,  “burst out laughing” when she saw the display.

My elections were always in April. Putting my opponents names on Easter eggs wouldn’t have had the same impact.

Good luck Royal. I can’t vote for you but I hope you win!

Government needs more people with guts and ingenuity.

Humorless School Officials

October 8, 2009


Many people do not regard school districts as local governments. Well, they are. So they are fair game to point out disagreements in policy when they arise.  Here’s a doozy.

It was a dare Brian Brochman couldn’t refuse.

Some friends in a first-period class at Stillwater Area High School thought it would be funny if he dashed through a homecoming pep rally wearing nothing but a thong.

Brochman is a senior and a captain of the school’s cross country team. “They said: ‘Hey, you should do it. You’re a cross country runner; you’ll never get caught,’ ” Brochman said. “I started to think about it and thought, ‘Why not?’ “

So on Sept. 25, Brochman donned an olive-green thong, a Bill Clinton mask and running shoes. He hid in the locker room, raced through Pepfest and ran out the gym’s west exit. A friend later picked him up near Boutwells Landing senior housing community.

Officials figured out the would-be streaker was a member of the school’s cross country team — based on his speed and body type — and approached the team’s coach with a photo. Brochman said he ‘fessed up at that point.

His punishment was to spend two weeks in an “alternative to suspension” program called the Youth and Community Accountability and Prevention Program, which is held at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater. His YCAPP program ends Friday.

Brochman said he knew he could be punished if he were caught but said he didn’t think he would face 10 days.

“I realize I should get punished some way — I’m not like an angel here,” he said. “They said you would get 10 days for streaking, but I wasn’t streaking.

Brochman’s mother, Jennifer Rolf, said she is furious her son has been pulled from school for a harmless prank.

“Webster’s defines ‘streaking’ as you have to be naked,” she said. “Two weeks for a practical joke that everybody laughed at and had a good time with? Come on.”

Joe Soucheray, the Mayor of Garage Logic, is famous for saying Minnesota is “the state where absolutely nothing is allowed.” That includes high school students having fun at a pep rally. How sad.

Sign of the times…

October 7, 2009


“What luck for rulers that men do not think.”  –  Adolf Hitler

Excuse me folks but I’m a little disgusted today.

I think I have to go post a sign on city hall.


Stop the press!

October 6, 2009


Newspapers are important. More important than any website or blog. Even the obviously slanted newspapers. From reading the newspaper over bowl of cereal to relaxing in a recliner on a Sunday morning, I’ve always been an avid newpaper reader.

So was Angus Anderson.

Angus M. Anderson was born in 1913, so he was less than a year old when The Chetek Alert offered the lifetime subscription for $25, but his father Theodore, thinking of the benefit of getting the paper longer, took advantage of the offer and subscribed in his infant son’s name.
At the age of 13, the Anderson family relocated to California, and The Chetek Alert followed them.

An electrician by trade, in 1946, Angus and three other partners opened Arrow Development Co. in the Golden State. It started as a small machine shop, but worked with Walt Disney to create many of the original Disney attractions when the park opened in 1955, such as King Arthur’s Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Teacup Ride, and Mr. Toad’s Hot Rod Cars.
Angus and wife Phyllis moved to Park Rapids, Minn., in 1970 when they bought a farm. They retired in 2004, but remained in Park Rapids until 2004, when they moved to Oregon to be closer to their children.

Through this all, The Chetek Alert has been delivered to his doorstep, no matter where that happened to be.

He was 95 years old when he passed away July 26, 2009. Through his subscription he received almost 5,000 issues of The Chetek Alert, costing him less than a half of a cent per issue.


October 5, 2009


Thanks to Mike Seccombe at the Vineyard Gazette Online  I learned a new word:

Gerontocracy: government by old men.

As the children have grown and my wife and I have done a bit more traveling, I sometimes look in local papers for meetings that sound interesting. It does not matter where I go I find gerontocracy in action. I just didn’t know it had a name.

Now I do.