Monday, April 09, 2007

Why has Simon only recently developed skepticism with regard to City money?

From my entry below, there is an interesting comment by Concerned.
Concerned said…

I should preface my comment by stating that I am undecided as far as how I will vote this Election Day. However, it seems to me that, in the case of Sheila Simon, the matter of hypocrisy cannot go unattended.

First, why has Simon only recently developed skepticism with regard to City money? What does it say about her ethos, as a potential holder of Public Office, that she took it on "faith" to trust "the system set up by City Hall" then questioned it as soon as it did not serve her interests? Is she not part of that same system she now criticizes?

Furthermore, as our representatives, do we not vote for city council men and women to carryout the task of assessing "facts," and not acting on "faith" alone, when it comes to voting on all kinds of issues? I work too hard for my small wages to be spent “on faith.” I would want my council person to know what it is he or she is voting for when issuing a vote.

Moreover, there is a problem when criticizing spending turns into economic protectionism disguised as a concern for local business. In some ways it feels like a thin veil for conservatism. Finally, unless my logic is incredibly eschewed, and please correct me if I’m wrong, how is it that a public university's travel budget is different than the "public's dime?"

It never bodes well when double-standards govern a politican's rhetoric.


I don't know if you have caught Sheila campaign strategy, but she needs a villain. There have a been a series of attempts to discredit Brad, as a matter of fact, there is nothing to Sheila's campaign that isn't a direct attack. The problem she has, is that she has been on the city council and voted for most of the things she is complaining about. The few things that she didn't vote for have mostly turned out well.

She hasn't done anything for the last 4 years, now all of a sudden she needs some heat. As it becomes closer to the election, her talking points are being debated and found wanting. If the city wasn't going the right way, this would be easier to play this blame game. The problem for Sheila is that we have had a great run for the last 4 years and there isn't much to complain about.

The city of Carbondale has taken in and spent some $200M in the last 4 years, and all the waste she can find are the things she voted to approve? The waste is $500? $2000? $5000? Seems like desperation doesn't it?

I have this great Sheila Simon pamphlet they have been leaving on people's doors of late, it is the standard pandering and no accomplishment drivel. I'll work that over in the next few days.

I agree, she seemed like a better candidate before she decided to get desperate and nasty. I thought she wouldn't be effective, but I never thought she was going to turn to dirty tricks and a media smears to win. Good for Brad for just calmly responding to each point.

For me, I'll take 4 more years of what we have please.


Concerned said...

“The Villain and the Heroine in one’s Head”

I confess had made up my mind to vote for Sheila Simon based primarily on partisan politics, but that changed when I witnessed a low-blow she took at Brad Cole during the recent Civic Center debate/forum. In my opinion, the ad hominem attack she seemed to have "strategically" put forward at the end of the debate (leaving Cole with no opportunity to respond), had no place or reason to have come up, and only demonstrated Simon’s appropriate use of argumentative fallacies, slippery slopes that play on fear more than reason. I left the Civic Center that night feeling quite disappointed about Simon, and not exactly so sure what to think about Cole. I wanted more specific answers to “how” questions, but for sure I admired his self-control and poise with regard to Simon’s constant innuendos. Cole did not “retaliate,” or escalate conflict, which, quite honestly, to me shows respect toward the community, and the nature of the event in that he sticks, realistically, to the issues that affect us.

In retrospect, I believe that before the debate, in my mind Cole was the "default" Republican I could vote against because I disagree with our current National Administration. I had made the "mistake" of taking for granted Simon’s political stance based on my personal partisan politics. I consider myself to be fairly well educated, and do my part in keeping up with local, national, and world affairs. I am observant about how politics play out and work. I certainly never considered myself an easy voter target for politicians of ANY party! And yet, I followed the bandwagon. How then is it that the cautious, careful, and critical person that I am was swept away in partisanship? How is it that I denied a candidate the benefit of the doubt without looking first at what he had to offer?

That said, my worst fear about this election is that we vote for a political party, and not the candidates’ position on the issues that affect our community.


Anonymous said...

Only one candidate appears capable of admitting a mistake here and that's Simon. Cole's defense of his travel expenses is lame, "They could've stopped me" and "Why now???" Notice he never explains why the travel is OK or suggests that if its an issue a new process should be put into place.

But I don't understand why you folks think this is "nasty." He's running explicitly on his record as an incumbent mayor. I think that makes questioning his decisions fair game (indeed, its the whole point of having elections in the first place!). If you don't think the issue has any punch, you should be jumping for joy that she raised it. The only reason to be defensive is if you think the issue hits.

For example, Brad is running ads trying to link Sheila to Blagojevich. While I find that disingenuous, her response has been to embrace the idea that statewise Dems are coming in to visit on her behalf.

Peter in Carbondale said...

The bad stuff that Sheila has found on Brad, is very reasonable in the real world, and she voted for it. In the big picture, it almost isn't worth mentioning. Sheila did the same thing at the same time. The magnitude of any wrong doing is about zero.

When you drop the political bomb on someone, by making it your last issue in your last debate, timing it so they can't respond right then, you need to make the issue stick. You have to be stupid to think this stuck. As a matter of fact, Channel 6 news makes Sheila look petty and shrill.

I was just raising it because it was interesting and it helps prove the points that - Sheila doesn't understand the budget (she admits it here), she voted for things she is now claiming are wrong, and she doesn't work hard enough to be an effective Mayor of Carbondale.

It is a pretty damaging package, if your mind is open.

Milton said...

To the first anonymous poster -

That was one of the most well written comments I have read in a while - particularly from an anonymous poster!

Your self-awareness is commendable. I can only hope more voters have such a quality.

Concerned said...


Statewide Dems visiting on a candidate's behalf means that the candidate is augementing, indeed inflating, her political and leadership credibility because she lacks it on her own.

She is not her father, nor is she Obama, nor Durbin, or anyone else. None of them will come to Carbondale to sign-off on policy at the Civic center. At the end of the day, it will be her vote, her signature that participates in demaracting the limits of what Carbondale citizens can and cannot do.

Ethos "by association" is no ground for governance. Actions on the other hand...


Anonymous said...

Then what does it say that Tom Cross and the Republican caucus came and campaigned for Brad, sent down staffers to help run his campaign (not on his payroll), and dropped much more money into his campaign than the Dems did into Sheila's?

This whole line of argument -- that only one candidate gets aid from a political party -- is entirely disingenuous and self-serving.

Concerned said...


I'd probably have some very interesting coffee debates with you!

That said, while I understand your point and frustration, I don't believe anyone has ever argued that only one candidate is getting support. Both have been open and clear about "who" and "how much" is on their side. Rather, the matter of support has to do with the character and strategic use each candidate has made of it. Whereas Simon "displays" her support by promoting her image alongside that of well known faces and names, therefore directly appealing to their established authority, Cole has "disclosed" the same support information as Simon (finances, names), but has chosen to place less emphasis on showing it off. Instead, I believe he’s either 1) attempting to appeal more to his own record of actions as demonstration of his capacity to do the job; and/or 2) trying to focus on issues vs. partisanship? (now there’s a thought!)

In other words, I’d hesitate to claim that Cole’s strategies are self-serving; I'd claim that they’re simply smart! You can't blame someone for using their own acts as evidence of their abilities instead of saying that someone else believes you can do the job because you have no other way to prove it. Wouldn’t you build your resume with things you’ve done? I would.

Not meaning to sound too harsh here, and please forgive me if I do (it’s in the service of healthy community debate), but my mother claims I can sing...I feel pitty for the person who’ll have to listen to me in the shower every morning!


Anonymous said...

We should also ask the question -- why did the mayor only recently develop an interest in code enforcement and police? beware of politicians who want to drastically increase the size of government right before an election. Either they don't really care or, worse, theymight actually do it.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, we would have some interesting "coffee debates." This forum will have to suffice in the meantime. ;)

"I don't believe anyone has ever argued that only one candidate is getting support."

You can check the quote for yourself, Concerned, but Brad made hay of this issue in this weekend's SI. The quote had somethign to do with "The number two Senator in the nation..." Also, at the last candidate forum he said that he wasn't getting any help from "out of state" candidates (he clearly meant out of town; minor slip).

"Instead, I believe he’s either 1) attempting to appeal more to his own record of actions as demonstration of his capacity to do the job; and/or 2) trying to focus on issues vs. partisanship? (now there’s a thought!)"

I would agree on point #1 -- a large part of his strategy looks like the local equivalent of a "Rose Garden" strategy. That strikes me as sensible. On point #2, I disagree. His radio ad brings up "Blagojevich's" support for Sheila which, to the best of my knoweldge, is not only true but is nothing but an attempt to tag her with an unpopular politician.

"Whereas Simon "displays" her support by promoting her image alongside that of well known faces and names..."

See, you call Cole's strategies smart...what's not politically astute about this? Jackson County and Carbondale are, afterall, largely Democratic. And as far as the campaign finance issue goes, the self-imposed maximum strikes me as an important issue when you consider fewer than 40-percent of Americans trust government. Saying that she's going the extra mile says something about her priorities and I have yet to hear her say that Brad is being unethical on the matter, only that she goes farther than the law requires.

Anonymous said...

That should have said "is not only UNtrue..."