Thursday, January 29, 2009

A noun, a verb, and the 911 center

Last night, current County Executive Kathleen Falk met her opponent, Nancy Mistele, for what was billed as an "executive forum." I was unable to attend, but the reports coming out of it have so far fairly well confirmed my feelings about both candidates: neither are particularly inspiring, and this is fast becoming a lesser of two evils scenario.

Which sucks. The position is too important to be reduced to such a decision. Jason Smathers, writing for the Badger Herald, summed it all up pretty well:

So what did we end up with? A Public Safety Cockatoo with a no concern for environmentalism — [Mistele] answered one question about preservation of a nature path by saying she didn’t think it needed to be part of the conversation right now — and an incumbent PR manager whose current duty seems to be telling the public what a great job she’s doing.

Really makes you wish we had a primary race, doesn’t it?

Yes, it really does. We deserve better candidates, but where are they? Because, quite frankly, I have been unimpressed with Falk's leadership, and am deeply concerned by the glaring holes left in her record by the massive fuck-ups with the 911 center. Mistele, on the other hand, strikes me as a one-note wonder with little regard for the other aspects of the job, little experience, and many opinions with which I differ wildly.

So you'll forgive my complete and utter lack of inspiration when it comes to this particular race. Is there anything to be done? Well, my first suggestion would be not to vote for Mistele. And if that automatically results in voting to keep Falk on for a bit longer, my second suggestion is to really start holding her feet to the fire.

Falk needs to stop dancing around the facts of what happened with the 911 center, take real responsibility, and then really truly actually work to implement all of the suggestions made in the original 2004 report about the center. None of this claiming to "have done each of the steps" it called for, which is exactly what Falk did last night even though, as the Wisconsin State Journal pointed out,
...the county followed some of the recommendations; rejected some, such as the consultant's suggestion that eight positions be hired immediately; or has yet to implement others, such as replacement of the computer-aided dispatch system.
It's hard to have confidence in Falk when she refuses to admit real culpability, or even state the real facts of the matter. And it's hard to have confidence in Mistele when she can't give any specifics about issues, and seems to have, as Smathers pointed out, attended the Rudy Guliani school of public debate: a noun, a verb and 911.

I can only hope that we get some decent candidates the next time around.

UPDATE: Jay Rath over at The Daily Page weighs in, too. Cripes, those comments from Mistele about not needing to protect wetlands because "no one would ever want to build there" just kill me.

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