Saturday, September 23, 2006

Never Surrender

Greetings everyone. I appreciate Publius and DoubleDawg's invitation to post to Athens Politics and try to keep this party going. Unlike them, I have no life to speak of, so blogging and trying to find some time to hit a few posts here shouldn't be too much of a stretch for me.

As a brief intro, I've lived in Athens approximately 8 years, and while I blog on other topics more national in scope at Article of Faith, I will admit to being somewhat left of the political spectrum both locally and nationally. I call myself a Kerrycrat as opposed to a capital D Democrat (yes, there are a few of us who "still believe" in another Kerry run), but I appreciate the chance to "go local" and will try to keep my comments "fair and balanced". [snicker]

A few observations on this beautiful Game Day Saturday morning:

Where's Heidi's campaign? I'm not the most politically connected person in Athens, but it seems that in the most obvious and public areas (signage, advertisements, etc.) her's is nowhere to be found. Maybe I'm not seeing it, but Charlie Maddox's campaign seems to be outworking Heidi's re-election effort. With just over six weeks to go to the election, that doesn't bode well for the incumbent Mayor.

Speaking of signage and Charlie's campaign anyone else notice that the "I'm With Charlie" yard signs seem to be springing up in lawns and yards (especially up on Milledge) alongside Republican candidates like Bill Cowsert and Perdue? I'm just sayin....

Mentioning the Cowsert race, is it wise for his opponent Jane Kidd to be expending phone bank energy this early in the race? I think I've been called at least twice in the past month, but maybe the fact that I'm talking about it shows it's working. You tell me.

Last comment, this one on the state Governor's race. Frankly I find Mark Taylor's "gettin tuff" on crime ads to be abysmal. Hasn't the Democratic Party, particularly the state party, learned that you can't out right the right? The "abolish parole for violent criminals" was ambiguous enough, I guess, but the death penalty for sex offenders? Shameless.

The only people turned on by those issues are voting for Sonny Perdue anyway, and as this poll shows, Taylor is still 20 points behind. Who exactly is he trying to motivate with ads like this? IMO, having sent an emissary to Athens to make up with all the Cathy Cox supporters would have garnered more votes than those ads will ever generate.

One last note: the same poll above shows lite guv Democratic candidate Jim Martin, who's "more liberal and doesn't try to hide it," in a dead heat with Republican Casey Cagle.

Makes you go "hmmmm..."

27 comments:

DoYouHaveAnyIdea said...

Now that is exciting. Thank you for picking it up.

Anonymous said...

Heidi's campaign has, in fact, been going full speed, non-stop for well over a couple of months, now. Perhaps you've missed some of our events - some have been public while others have been hosted by friends with their own invitation lists.

Maybe you missed some of our press releases.

The visibility thing with the other campaigns is not a concern as we're running our campaign according to our plans and on our schedule. Those guys have their campaigns to run and we have ours. Our yard signs, mail, printt ads, radio, public appearances, etc. are all ready to go for when it's time for them to go. In fact, our yard signs have been sitting in my garage for almost 3 weeks, now. It's not time.

Heidi's campaign will not be using billboards as we simply don't believe that our supporters particularly appreciate billboard advertising very much and billboards don't tell the voters anything except "hey! look at us - we spent our money on something that has no information for the voters".

There's no question that the Maddox campaign will be vastly better funded than Heidi's but, that money is coming from people and places that we would not particularly want on our disclosures, anyway. You know what I'm talking about!

So, while other campaigns are spending wildly and saying nothing of substance, we are continuing to build the substantive information that voters need to make informed decisions. We continue to revise www.ElectHeidi.com almost daily - check it out frequently.

Have no fear - we know when is the right time to come out with our stuff and it's only just barely entering that time, now. Readers of blogs such as this are quite rare amongst the general electorate - Heidi still has people asking her if there are other candidates in the Mayor's race.

If I were running one of those other campaigns, I might be coming out early like they have just because my candidate is an unknown. If I had the money they had behind it, I'd do some of the things they are doing (but not the really silly stuff).

Timing is everything...stay tuned.

Al

BTW - thanks for breathing some new life into this place!

Anonymous said...

Sure heidi is campaigning hard - to her supporters. But what's she doing to bring in all those people who voted for her in 2002 that aren't going to vote for her this time around?

When she gets out of her comfort zone, I'll be impressed. Until then, I'm not.

Silence Dogood

Anonymous said...

With regards to the Mayor's race, I think this is certainly to be expected. Anytime a candidate for Mayor is represented by a constituency who directly benefits financially from control of the Mayor's office, that candidate is going to have more money and resources. The question that will ultimately be decided by the voters is "Are Athens Values for Sale?" Are we going to be bought by the billboards, direct mail pieces and the radio ads and then be sold to the highest bidder. That's what's at stake in this election. When Heidi took office, her greatest accomplishment was opening up government from those business and developement issues to the people of Athens. I can't think why we'd want to go back to that.

Publius said...

"Are we going to be bought by the billboards, direct mail pieces and the radio ads[?]"

Probably, yes.

Blackfin_Day said...

When Heidi took office, her greatest accomplishment was opening up government from those business and developement issues to the people of Athens. I can't think why we'd want to go back to that.

Except that, none of that really happened. I don't mean this as a criticism of Heidi, per se, but this comment is misleading. All politicians have an agenda, and supporters, and advisers, and positions on issues affecting their communities.

Heidi's agenda is (obviously) not particularly aligned with the Chamber of Commerce folks or large scale developers, etc. But she didn't "give it back to the people," she shifted it to "her people." And there's nothing wrong with that, she went out and got more votes than Doc Elderidge.

But don't forget that thousands of the "people of Athens" (not me) don't give a shit about smart growth, or historic preservation, or the "important" issues that you claim Heidi opened up to the people of Athens.

Some of them are supporting Maddox, though I have a nagging feeling that they may end up surprised and disapointed if he wins.

It'll be interesting. And I'm not picking sides, BTW.

Blackfin_Day said...

And also...

thanks for responding Mr Davison, AND signing your name.

you need a blogger id....

retired_cowboy said...

A friend of mine wrote this to me:

I think one big item in Heidi's marquee is her opening of the political process to all. It not the bubba network anymore. She has made our government much more open to citizen input. Athens is probably one of the most progressive communities in that aspect.

Heidi is very accessible and has been very visible in the community. She does not limit her exposure to backrooms and business suits; we see her at all sort of events and even a bar!. She can take the heat with a (huge) smile (referring to the fact that the mayor gets blamed for everything even though she has little power).

Finally, look at the progress she has made on transportation issues. Transportation will greatly affect the quality of life and the business success of our community. Heidi has the foresight to address this issue before it becomes a godzilla that eats Athens. As examples, I cite her work on MACORTS, negotiations with GDOT, Green Way and expansion of Athens Transit service.

UGAdemocrat said...

Mr. Davison is right on in the Mayor's race. I have to say, I am disappointed to see you think that the number of signs are an indicator of a campaign that will win. They aren't. And like Mr. Davison said, the billboards are a complete waste of money and I have yet to hear the issues come from Mr. Maddux.

Furthermore, it angers me to see Mr. Maddux is clearly aligned with the Republican party, yet he strolls around town as a Democrat to some crowds, as a business developer's dream come true to others, and then, side by side with Cowsert. There's a reason the people of Athens sent Mr. Cowsert home two years ago in the House race.

Speaking of Mr. Cowsert, Representative Kidd is running a complete grassroots campaign that is taking the issues directly to the voters. I have also received a call from the campaign, and I ask you have you ever received the same message on your calls? The answer is no. The Kidd for Senate campaign is so organized and targeted that they continue to deliver actual messages that matter to the people as well as real solutions to the problems facing our communities. Rep. Kidd doesn't just say "It's common sense to protect education and healthcare" (while his own party slashes both), she delivers a complete vision of ideas and programs that she will pass into legislation next session. Mr. Cowsert is doing what most Republican candidates do, in that he stays vague and general. And his inexperience is exemplified through his lack of ideas. Furthermore, since the people of Athens rejected Mr. Cowsert two years ago when he ran as a moderate and pro-environmental candidate, I am sure they will once again reject his flip-flop to a hardcore Conservative with no vision and no experience, and the all-famous "loser" label.

UGAdemocrat said...

In short, Go Heidi. Go Jane.

Anonymous said...

Em...not so much.

I think one big item in Heidi's marquee is her opening of the political process to all.

Well, if by "all" you mean FOFP and Bike Athens, then yes. But if "all" includes the folks up in North Athens who waited for years upon years for a fire station while Johnny B (when he was a sellout commissioner, before he became an even bigger sellout congressman) made sure FOFP got their phallic monstrosity, then, well, not so much, no. This government just changed the players, not the game.

It not the bubba network anymore.

No, it's the greens. Don't get me wrong, I like them better, but to say Heidi has opened the doors of government to any huge degree is just silly.

She has made our government much more open to citizen input. Athens is probably one of the most progressive communities in that aspect.

Heidi is very accessible and has been very visible in the community. She does not limit her exposure to backrooms and business suits; we see her at all sort of events and even a bar!. She can take the heat with a (huge) smile (referring to the fact that the mayor gets blamed for everything even though she has little power).

No one denies that she is a great politician, and perhaps her greatest talent is being in the right place at the right time.

Finally, look at the progress she has made on transportation issues. Transportation will greatly affect the quality of life and the business success of our community.

You know what else would embiggen the business success of our community? Letting local business owners, especially downtown business owners conduct their business without the nanny-statism that Elton Dodson espouses and Heidi tacitly endorses. Sidewalk cafe fees, smoking bans, and what have you are hurting local business in this town a LOT more than MACORTS is gonna help it. Hey, beat up on WalMart, all you want - fuck 'em if they can't take a joke - but let downtown business do its thing without the oppressive regime of nanny-state liberalism.

Heidi has the foresight to address this issue before it becomes a godzilla that eats Athens. As examples, I cite her work on MACORTS, negotiations with GDOT, Green Way and expansion of Athens Transit service.

Good on her. And I mean that. But she lost a lot of her liberal base over the last four years thanks to some of the things that didn't take a stand on.

Silence Dogood

Blackfin_Day said...

While I agree with your friend about some of the positive things Heidi has been a part of, and I agree to some extent about her accessability, I have to disagree again about this notion of "opening the political process to all."

There are lots of members of the african american community who (rightly or wrongly) still don't feel THEY have access to the political process.

There are some folks in the restaurant/hospitality industry who don't feel that there was an "open political process" that resulted in additional taxation on their sales.

I'm not saying either of those groups is right or wrong to feel this way, but merely pointing out that the appearance of a "government open to all" in many instances depends on your point of view, and whether "your" candidate is currently in power.

I like Heidi, I may vote for her again. But she is not responsible for an "open governement" revolution in Athens, if such a thing actually exists.

I guess what I'm saying is... I would be much more interested in discussions of real issues in this (and all campaigns). That's one of the things that kinda bothers me about Maddox's message.

Publius said...

Arrgh.

Ok, a few things. Sorry we've been in absentia for the last few. Things is busy, yo. For me, at least things are going to continue to be busy for the foreseeable future, so thanks to the two newest members of the crack editorial staff. I think having some new opinions on the blog here is going to be great, and in any event, you'll still have to put up with my mindless blathering in comments and the occaisional post.

But what I really wanted to talk about quickly here is...

The Mayor's Race
Here's my question. Everybody says that Charlie is in the Republican Party's pocket, or least in the pockets of the developers. Ok, fair enough, I'm not going to argue it. But, I do want to ask you to prove it.

Rumors are one thing, speculation is another, but if for no other reason than it's worth talking about, where's the evidence?

By the way, I'm not saying whether it is or isn't out there. But, if it is, let's put it here, so that we can all refer to it.

Also, Silence Dogood. You ended a sentence with a preposition. Not cool.

Blackfin_Day said...

I think one reason, publius (one day I'll have the nerve/bad taste to refer to you as "pube", but not tonight) that people keep talking about Charlie being "in the pocket" of republicans is the notable local republicans he's posing with on his campaign literature.

Again, I wonder just how much access they are really going to have if maddox wins, Charlie may be "republican like a fox" (that was pretty weak, I know)

Todd Mitchell said...

ugademocrat writes: "I have to say, I am disappointed to see you think that the number of signs are an indicator of a campaign that will win. They aren't. And like Mr. Davison said, the billboards are a complete waste of money and I have yet to hear the issues come from Mr. Maddux."

I've yet to see anything coherent (the infamous Flagpole ad may have been the most convoluted piece of campaign literature I've ever seen) on the issues from Maddox either, but the fact that his name recognition and visibility is greater than Heidi's right now is interesting (and potentially troubling for her). It's not an indicator as to who is going to win, but it certainly plants the seed that his is a campaign to be reckoned with.

I'm glad Al responded and clarified what Heidi's campaign is doing. Maybe Charlie's will check in too.

Todd Mitchell said...

publius writes: "Rumors are one thing, speculation is another, but if for no other reason than it's worth talking about, where's the evidence? "

That's the million dollar question. Any evidence so far is merely anecdotal, though as I wrote in the post, I find it interesting that most of signs up on Milledge are sitting alongside Republican candidates signs for other races.

Anonymous said...

Just a few quick notes you can think about:

The charge that Heidi has replaced one group with another is one that you simply cannot make stick since the evidence is quite to the contrary. Just read through the lists of committees and board appointments and such and you'll see that Heidi has gone to great lengths to make sure that they were well balanced with stakeholders from both sides and the middle on those issues. Heidi has, quite intentionally, appointed many people whom she knows oppose her personal opinions and perspectives. Heidi even politely declined the offer of Charlie Maddox to vacate his spot on the Navy School redevelopment commission when he came to her to announce that he was running. Several of her most outspoken critics have been appointed to have a seat at the tables - even appointed to chair them. Try as you might, there's no way you argue against the very public evidence. Have there been some new "seats at the table" for people who are aligned with Heidi - of course! These are the folks, many of them recognized subject matter experts, that had been excluded under the previous administration.

Another weird one is that some of the bar and restaraunt owners have been complaining about the excise tax on their drinks. That is something that was done years before Heidi took office and something that they've never even mentioned to her before. I've got a good idea of who is spreading this misinformation but it's just something to be expected in the heat of the battle, I suppose. It's just not accurate to try to lay that one at Heidi's feet.

One of the most important aspects of Heidi's opening up the government processes has been her handling of the agenda - particularly with respect to the 10 Commissioners. She has not hesitated to put those items that Commissioners want to address on the agenda for an open discussion that includes citizen input. Certainly, not all the votes have gone the way she would have preferred but she considers it to be the duty of the Mayor to allow the Commissioners to represent their constituents and many of those items that people complain most loudly about were the results of the votes of the Commission in which she had no part other than to allow them to be publicly aired - that's one of the single most important things that our Mayor must do and something for which the previous administration was roundly criticized when it failed or refused to do so. The Mayor cannot and should not control the Commissioners as they are duly elected officials representing their constituencies. It's not in Heidi's nature to suppress discussion or action by other elected officials. If you want a Mayor that prevents open discussion of issues important to the Commissioners simply because they are not popular with you, then you should probably vote for someone else.

Finally, with all the vitriol about North Athens, one has to wonder about the two Commissioners who represent that area and how it is that they don't seem to be getting any criticism. Many of those citizens have been electing the same representatives for more than 12 years yet little has been heard from those Commissioners on the subjects for which Heidi is now being roundly criticized. Hmmm...

Thanks for listening!

Al

Blackfin_Day said...

And thanks for responding, Al. But at noon on a beautiful fall sunday in an election year... shouldn;t ya'll be out knocking on doors or something? :)

Blackfin_Day said...

And my point is still, that regardless of the truth, there is a sizeable group in this community who think Heidi is "in the pocket" of pinko leftist hippies, just as there is a different group that thinks Maddox is backed by Republicans.

It's going to be an interesting fall.

UGAdemocrat said...

Well it's a good thing Athens is a progressive, left leaning area. I like to think of it as a beacon of hope for Northeast Georgia (alongside Atlanta really for Democrats). Heidi is working hard, and I am confident she is about to launch an even more aggressive campaign now that we are in the stretch. For mayor's races it's smart to hold on and go hard while you can, Mayor's races don't spend a quarter million dollars like other larger races so the whole campaign comes down to the month of October. And Mr. Maddux has no message other than ties (even if they are ambiguous and 'can't be pinned down' - rumors his campaign can't deny either) to losing Republicans. I can't wait for November 7 when we can send them all home packing.

And, Heidi's campaign will come out strong and hard. The fact that Mr. Maddux has his signs with the Republicans running this year, and the fact that Doc Elridge is behind his campaign as well as Mr. Culpepper's in the 115th, is proof enough. Either way, I hope Mr. Maddux stays away from the Clarke County Democratic meeting this week unless he is ready to face the public on his Republican ties. I can only hope he does indeed show up and try to speak like he did at the last meeting. Which by the way, his only message was: "Heidi hasn't done anything wrong and she had led the city very well. I just want to lead Athens now." That is pathetic but it should be expected from a campaign using billboards to say "An Athens for all Athenians." What the heck does that mean?! And Mr. Maddux, stop trying to court all sides and claim your Democratic roots, when all your signs and literature are side by side and include Republicans, especially beside Mr. Cowsert whom Athens sent home in 2004 as a big loser.

Blackfin_Day said...

and the fact that Doc Elridge is behind his campaign as well as Mr. Culpepper's in the 115th, is proof enough.

OK, really? Doc Eldridge, neo-conservative mastermind? We need to do better than that.

Have you ever actually met Doc? Don't get me wrong, he's a republican through and through, and I'm glad he was defeated, and he certainly earned his defeat in 2002, but Karl Rove, he's not.

Todd Mitchell said...

blackfin: Have you ever actually met Doc? Don't get me wrong, he's a republican through and through, and I'm glad he was defeated, and he certainly earned his defeat in 2002, but Karl Rove, he's not."

LOL. That's the quote of the day.

Anonymous said...

I think Karl ROve is a pretty good analogy. Karl Rove is to the US as Doc is to Athens.

EVIDENCE:
-He got non-partisan elections passed which is a major pain in the ass to Democrats.
-He's devised a brillant strategy to have blacks and Republicans form a coalition under Charlie. He got Republican EH Culpepper to run as an Independent (which is the only way Republicans can win in 115).

He's definitely the Karl Rove of Athens.

Blackfin_Day said...

EVIDENCE:
-He got non-partisan elections passed which is a major pain in the ass to Democrats.
-He's devised a brillant strategy to have blacks and Republicans form a coalition under Charlie. He got Republican EH Culpepper to run as an Independent (which is the only way Republicans can win in 115).


Of course, that's not "evidence."

Anonymous said...

How is that not evidence?

Anonymous said...

If Doc is Karl Rove, then Al Davison is the Al Franken of Athens.

UGAdemocrat said...

I wouldn't credit anyone from Georgia as being anywhere to close to having the mind capacity of any political operative, not even Karl Rove, so I would appreciate it if people on this blog would not put quotes in my mouth. But yes, as you said I said Doc is behind both campaigns and the list above is true about nonpartisan races (which is crazy) and as you said he is a Republican through and through and that shows his ties.