Easy Politics with Donna Bell

Isn't it nice when politics is easy? When the town council had to make a decision on who to appoint to the vacant seat they had to consider many factors including:

1) Minority representation on the council

2) Someone experienced enough to help come up with real solutions in these difficult economic times

3) Someone who could help begin the healing process after a divisive election

Lucky for them and all of us in Chapel Hill, Donna Bell fit and exceeded these requirements. In a time when politics is all too often made up of making difficult decisions over the lesser of evils (do we fire teachers or shut down hospitals) it sure is nice when there is an easy solution. Good first move Mayor Kleinschmidt!
Total votes: 136

Comments

Aleiro, you got number 1 right. Number 2 is a wait and see. Number 3 you need to expand on? Maybe it should be renamed to the winners goes the spoils.  Mayor K needs to send holiday cards to the two minor candidates for mayor because they helped to elect him by running. Glad to see you advocating that the Town should chip in money to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Schools so they don't have to fire teachers.

one was a write in candidate far to the left of everyone elsehttp://www.orangepolitics.org/2009/11/election-2009-maps-chapel-hill#com...

Write ins got 11 votes in CH and that could be anyone even you Jake. Contrast that with Hillsborough Mayor race where there was only one person on the ballot write ins got 18 votes. These people are not defined on the BOE returns. As for the number 3 & 4 CH mayor candidates they received a total of 318 votes.

"3) Someone who could help begin the healing process after a divisive election" I think the best way to do that would have been for people that applied for the seat to state that they'd serve out the rest of the term through 2011 then not run again, since the reason this seat was voted for by council instead of the people was because of Bill Strom's resignation.  That way, the effect of the timing of Strom's resignation would end as of Nov 2011.  As far as I know neither Donna Bell nor anyone else said they'd do that though, unsurprisingly since people that seek political power rarely state in advance when they'll give it up willingly.I did read Donna Bell say...perhaps in the paper or perhap on here, I can't remember...that she was planning to run for TC in 2011 anyway.  Think about this for a minute.  If she was going to run in 2011 anyway then why didn't she just run in 2009?  Obviously it wasn't because she simply didn't want to be on TC right now, since she ended up applying for Strom's seat anyway.  So the only alternatives I can think of are that she either didn't want to go to the trouble of actually running in 2009 or else she didn't think she could win in 2009.  Those same things can't be applied to the other people that applied for the seat since some of them actually did run in 2009 and as far as we know none of them were planning to run in 2011 anyway. So let's put things together.  We have a guy that was on TC that purposely resigned after the deadline so that the TC would have to pick his replacement instead of CH voters.  And we have a woman that wanted to be on TC but purposely avoided submitting herself for approval to CH voters in the 2009 elections.  And yet here we are in Dec 2009 and she is now on TC.  Can you say "end run around the voters?"  I knew you could. Because of the advantage of incumbency, if Donna Bell isn't bad and if she decides she wants to continue then she is going to be on TC for a long time.  And it will all be because of when Bill Strom decided to announce his resignation.  So do you see why people were upset with the Strom thing?  It wasn't something that had an effect until the fall of 2009 and then ended.  Instead it had the potential to go on and on and now it looks like it will do that.

Am I reading you right - are you implying that Donna Bell was whom the TC had in mind all along, and it was a "behind-closed-doors" arrangement?   That doesn't square with what happened re: Jim Merritt, at the very least.

No, I definitely don't think it was a plan all along to put DB in.  Rather I'm saying that it's a pattern of not really caring about the voter will, who should be the ones deciding such things. The Bill Strom thing was a far worse thing than the DB appointment IMO.  The thing that really shocked me, and also woke me up to how things work in CH, was the lack of initial reaction to the timing of Strom's resignation.  That showed me just how comfortable and unchallenged and unaccountable the ruling group of CH felt.   The DB appointment is just another example of political opportunism, which is common in politics, but when everyone is blowing sunshine and flowers about her appointment I feel compelled to note that this person did want to be on TC but did not want to actually run now and yet she was able to parlay it into a seat out of the situation. 

 ...woke me up to how things work in CH... Politics is politics, here as anywhere else; and the more likely it is that an action will create a problem, the more deliberate you'd expect reactions to be. But the most you can say with certainty about Strom's resignation is that it says something about how Strom things work.  

As Priscilla said: "it says something about how Strom things work." And I say good riddance to doing things that way.Ron Stutts said on the radio Tuesday morning something like: I hope we can stop calling it Bill Strom's seat now, because it's not his anymore. Although Bill's resignation was done in a way that probably intended to avoid public input, Donna's appointment by the newly-elected Council was not. So I hope people give Donna a chance to show that she does not do things the Strom way. They may not like how she got on on the Council, but they might like what she does now that she's there.

on this.

There's a lot of truth here.  True, we don't know why Strom did what he did, we only know what he did and when he did it. Doesn't mean that Jose's smart alecky musings add up to a big zero. Strong reactions to his strangely cogent flights of reason put me in mind of Dr Robbins, the preventative psychiatrist and reality specialist in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, whose every comment to  Sissy's take on things is followed by something to the effect of, "... ah, but I don't suppose you would understand that." Donna, I wish you the best on your town council tenure. Would that we had gotten to vote you in. May you use the power of incumbency for good, not evil. Big thanks to all who ran. Smile, people. 

Jose, you wrote that no applicant promised to only fill out the term of the Strom seat and promised not to run again.  That is exactly what I did, clearly stating in my application letter and in my speech last week that "I have no plans to run for election again, nor do I have higher political ambitions.  My only desire is to serve the people of Chapel Hill."This is not sour grapes.  I endorsed Donna Bell and am delighted that she was appointed.   

Joe, "Jose" would have known this if he were paying attention, but he seems to make a concerted effort to avoid the facts - he has said in the past that he doesn't have time for them.  I don't understand how he still has time to write his considered opinions for OP in that case, but I am starting to think we should save our own time and energy for a more productive pursuit than debating him.

Okay, I didn't realize you made that pledge.  In that case you were the candidate I preferred TC pick, unless perhaps there were others too.  I don't think you ought to be delighted DB was appointed unless she too pledged to not run in 2011 too so that the countdown to the Bill Strom episode finally being put behind CH could begin.

I'm really happy the TC made such a wise choice. Let's move on. Happy Holidays to all.

but circumstantial bs on why Strom resigned when he did. Neither you nor anyone else has provided anything more than speculation. It adds up to zero.

Voters should NOT have to speculate on why an elected official does something. We have sunshine laws for that very reason. When left to speculation, the official, nor his supporters, should expect anything other than anger and frustration. At the very least, those supporters should be apologizing rather than being defensive, IMHO. The challenge, as I see it, for those who are angry with Bill is to become more vigilant and ensure that the sitting council members remember the value of sunshine. The challenge for the sitting council members is to behave above and beyond the current low expectations of those angry citizens.

 

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