Who will vote for what’s best for us all?
So a partisan governor will be asked to appoint a fellow partisan to a nonpartisan Nevada County supervisor post and the partisan Democrats are crying foul?
According to the rules of engagement, Republican Gov. Arnold will be appointing someone to fill Supervisor Drew Bedwell’s seat on the county board until November’s election, when that seat will be up for grabs to the highest partisan vote-getter. Given the fact that Arnold probably has bigger fish to fry down in Sacramento, he’ll likely defer to the recommendations of his staff, which will likely base its recommendation on the advice of local Republican officials who helped Arnold get elected.
That’s called politics. Nothing unusual about it. I’d be very surprised if Arnold appointed a Democrat to the position. Just as I assume Democrats would have been surprised if Gray Davis had appointed a Republican, had he not been thrown out of office.
I suppose a county supervisor position was classified as nonpartisan in the first place because most local neighborhood issues are nonpartisan. Take traffic, for example. According to the latest survey, just as many Democrats get stuck in traffic jams as Republicans. Close on their tails are the Independents, who don’t drive as much. And the “declined to state” voters never get stuck in traffic because they stay home wondering who to vote for in the next partisan election.
Over the years, however, we’ve seen a pattern of generalizations when it comes to local board membership. Take trees, for example. Democrats have been described as “tree huggers” and Republicans as “land rapers.” We all know that’s not true. A friend who works at a popular local hardware store said he sold almost twice as many chainsaws to Democrats last year. The same goes for weed-whackers. When they’re not writing letters to the editor bashing G.W. Bush, Democrats like to get out and whack weeds and trees. I’ve seen them in broad daylight.
Besides, anyone who knows Bedwell knows he’s anything but nonpartisan. He’s about the most partisan guy I know. He’s so partisan he cancelled his subscription to our newspaper because he felt we were too liberal. At least that’s what he said in one of his many e-mails he sent to me over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, cancer really is nonpartisan, and Bedwell finds himself in the fight of his life. The Ackerman Family will be praying for Drew every day. I believe it’s still legal to pray, even in California.
Truth be told, I’d make a pretty good supervisor. I’m actually nonpartisan. I have four bunnies and a weed-whacker and voted for Bush in the last election (although I still think Rumsfeld is wrong). I cried during the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” but loved the end of the first “Godfather” movie, where Michael’s hit men kill the heads of the five families in one fell swoop.
As a runner, I hate cars but also think we have too many deer running around. I have to jump over the dead ones along the road. Same for skunks. If I were on the board, I’d push for an annual skunk and deer roundup.
At the same time, we need to preserve open spaces, so I’d want someone on the board who doesn’t look at a field of flowers as a good place for 300 condos. In fact, we ought to push for a special sales tax to purchase and preserve open spaces. That’s why most of us moved here. We drove through one day and muttered, “Golly. This place is paradise. I think I’ll move here!”
As the Eagles reminded us many years ago, call some place paradise and kiss it goodbye.
We also need someone on the board who really wants to do something about the affordable housing problem that is forcing working families out. If we’re not careful, we’ll have a county of retired folks with nobody to take care of them. Who will do the dishes? Who will wait the tables? Who will police the streets and manicure the golf courses? That’s right, golfers. It takes a lot of underpaid groundskeepers to keep the courses in tiptop shape. If they can’t afford to live here, they’ll take their greenskeeping skills elsewhere, and won’t that be a bummer.
We need someone who won’t alienate people, someone with good diplomatic skills, someone who listens to Republicans and Democrats, Independents and Greens and then votes for what’s best for the rest of us.
I could do all of that in my sleep, but I’m busy. If you’re up to it, however, give Arnold a call. But you need to know that it could be a short-term gig. Whomever the governor appoints will need to start campaigning almost immediately. I’ll guess there will be a few partisans out there running for the nonpartisan post in November, and it takes an awful lot of partisan dollars to win one of those nonpartisan seats.
Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears every Tuesday.
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