Truth, buzzwords and the district 3 race guest columns the daily news wb state electricity board bill pay

In a political tradition well known to voters, a type of verbal arms race heats up in campaign materials as candidates claim to be responsive to voters, working together for the community, listening to our opinion, and so on. These can be the political equivalent of, “Things go better with Coke.” A voter should not accept them at face value, particularly so if a candidate’s record doesn’t reflect those outcomes.

In the article (“Maceo, Collins face off in District 3,” The Daily News, April 24), Frank Maceo was quoted as saying he entered the council race last time because residents not in the historical district were being ignored. As a downtown resident who organized a significant volunteer effort to survey our deteriorated sidewalk and curb situation, I find his comment ironic, to say the least. Ralph McMorris, District 3 councilman at the time, tasked us to gain the widest input possible on downtown resident concerns and to exclude no parties. We did this with an online poll open to all. Overwhelmingly, the request was to fix sidewalks and curbs and make downtown walkable everywhere.

In the typical fashion of the Collins campaign we get six paragraphs of attack and criticism of Maceo followed by one lonely paragraph of generic, happy adjectives that highlight Collin’s ability to sit through any meeting as a spectator. That’s might be good enough for you Wayne but it’s not good enough for me. Lacking any real accomplishments or platform to run a campaign on, Collin’s supporters again resort to untruths such as the splash pad, there is no splash pad, that was simply a proposal like many other proposals. Like McMorris’s proposals. Some got done, some didn’t. Sidewalks downtown? I can just imagine the outcry if the city started jackhammering up old brick, pavers and historic sections of downtown sidewalks. That’s a joke, right? But the worst untruth of all is the RV Park rumor. Maceo lives a block away. He’s a homeowner and taxpayer there. It’s his neighborhood. He’s on record opposing it. As far as nifty campaign slogans go, there’s another one. If your campaign’s about nothing but bad mouthing the other guy it’s a sure sign you don’t have much to offer.

For those who are trying to sift truth from spin in my column and this thread, there are a couple of very obvious rhetorical games being played here by those criticizing what I wrote. Not to belabor the points made but to set the record straight so these verbal sleights-of-hand don’t go undetected, I offer this:

Lisa Blair leads off with the charge I wrote "six paragraphs of attack and criticism of Maceo followed by one lonely paragraph of generic, happy adjectives that highlight Collin’s ability to sit through any meeting as a spectator." In fact, what I wrote was a first-person report of my personal experience in having many hours of volunteer work tossed in the trash by a person who claims he got involved because residents outside of downtown were being ignored. It may be a criticism but that does not in any way, shape or form change the FACT it is true. As to sitting through meetings, I should think most voters would roundly support a candidate like David Collins who takes the trouble to attend civic organization meetings to get input on resident concerns. This is vastly preferred to not attending and having your spokesperson try to somehow spin that as a plus.

Re the splash pads: Please read what I wrote again, this time minus your interpretation. I said he substitued the splash pad, I did not say built it. What you have wisely chosen to ignore is the FACT that Frank tosed the collective work of three volunteer committees who put forth a 50-page document on suggestions to improve District 3. For someone like Frank coming onto the council without benefit of attending civic organization forums, one would think that would be invaluable insight into what a wide swath of his district desired. In Frank’s case, one would be wrong.

Ms Blair gives the sidewalks and curbs issue the classic debaters’ trick of restating what the speaker never said and attacking that. If Frank had bothered to look at what had been provided by the downtown volunteers, he would have seen the vast majority dealt with sidewalks and curbs that were modern…crumbling but modern. That is another fine detail lost on those who support Mr. Maceo with hyperbolic exaggeration of reasonable positions taken by those interested in more responsive representation on council.

Charlotte O’rouke calls my column "Typical demonization and fear mongering editorial." Apparently, those who speak for Mr. Maceo feel that offering FACT that is indisputable is demonization. I suppose it would be better if all of us just looked the other way when candidate claims are the empty buzz words I was referring to at the beginning of the column.

Ms. O’rourke again: " Collins’s campaign has had an overall negative tone from the beginning. Not only has he chosen to have his platform consist of nothing other than criticism of his opponent…" Balderdash. If anything, Mr. Collins has stuck to a message of what he would like to see done differently, positions shaped from talking to many hundreds of district residents. Again, Mr. Maceo, through his supporters, characterizes anyone with a different perspective on issues as negative. Anyone who thinks there may be other, better ways to accomplish things and offers them in the marketplace of ideas is shouted down for "criticism of his opponent." Would Mr. Maceo just prefer that we all read statements in support of him or are others allowed a voice in this district, too?

Mr. Maceo says he wants to help lead the City of Galveston on any number of high profile, sensitive and complex issues. He had a chance to show what he could do in District 3 for the past two years. As to clear-eyed, effective leadership, there was none. There was rubberstamping of projects on others’ agendas. Before he deigns to take on city-wide issues he would have done well to master those in the district he purports to represent. I, for one, am not willing to provide him another two-year term to show us what he has. I will be voting for David Collins…you know, the guy who actually does go to meetings to hear what residents are thinking.