Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Grudge

Astute bloggers in the last thread down-column found the cached page for the original website of the political action committee "Citizens for Change." On that cached page, Citizens for Change describe themselves as a "non-partisan group." They mean, we assume, a BI-PARTISAN group, consisting of power players in the Watauga County Republican Party, a handful of former Democrats, along with a few so-called "unaffiliated" developers, like former Town Councilman Graydon Eggers.

What holds them together is wealth and self-interest.

And a long grudge against Boone's recent trend toward smart-growth policies, most especially the limitations on steep-slope development and the careful conservation of Boone's limited water supply.

But not those policies alone.

Time was, with a past Town Council, that a group of wealthy developers could induce elected officials into rezoning a local trailer park so they could build the Fairfield Inn. Fine and dandy, but the rezoning caused the eviction of over 50 households from that trailer park, paid for not by the owners of the property, who had been collecting the rent, but rather by the taxpayers of Boone. It was the crisis of relocating those 50 families -- many of them very poor and some incredibly disabled, with literally no place else to go -- that brought current Mayor Pro-Tem Lynne Mason into the political process.

That sort of eviction at the behest of special interests is an unlikely scenario in the Boone of 2007, else the many more trailer park households currently behind Wal-Mart would have already been thrown out to make way for a Super Wal-Mart.

Citizens for Change intends to flatten the progressive smart-growth Boone Town Council into the dust.

And they're getting their act together. They've raised (lots of) money. They intend a full frontal assault, the first evidence of which is a letter to the editor in Friday's Watauga Democrat by Graydon Eggers' wife Carolyn, who suggested that the progressive incumbents might deface their own yard signs for sympathy, while at the same time calling for "a positive campaign season." What this letter is really saying:
"Dear Progressive Incumbents on the Boone Town Council:
Please sit very still and quiet while we blast you with all the arsenal that money can buy. We won't like it if you don't remain a sitting duck, or if you talk back, or -- heavens forfend! -- if you fight us. Do any of that, and we'll probably have to accuse you of not being sufficiently Christian."
This is just the beginning. A member of Citizens for Change has laughed in public that the student they're endorsing will deliver a thousand ASU votes to their slate. Wouldn't that be sweeeeet! And ironic, since ASU students get much of the blame for throwing out local Republican office-holders in both 2004 and 2006 (remember those bumperstickers? "ASU Shame On You!"). The Citizens for Change power structure has been very hostile to the right of students to vote. It was, in fact, Citizens for Change kingpin David Blust who hanged himself in 2006 by declaring on the ASU campus that students should not be allowed to vote in local elections. (That YouTube footage of Blust is still available for viewing.)

The ASU student who's been endorsed by Citizens for Change is a very nice young man by all reports. If he has a clue about what he's gotten himself into, and the motivations of the people who are using him, we'd be very surprised. There he was minding his own business, pursuing a higher education, and now he's a tool of other forces whose full agenda he's maybe ignorant of.

Generally speaking, we do not believe ASU students are motivated by public policy built on greed and anti-environmental practices, so we believe that in the end Mr. Dotson will refuse the endorsement of Citizens for Change. And we want to offer the same opportunity for refusal to others.

We provide this thread for the following specific challenges:

To those candidates who have been endorsed by Citizens for Change: do you accept or reject the endorsement?

To Citizens for Change (we know you're reading and commenting here): Will you have the courage to come clean with the names of those involved in your PAC?

To David Blust: since you evidently now believe that students should vote in local elections, could you write a couple of sentences on the topic "Political Principles: How to Bend 'Em."

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