Friday, August 19, 2005

Debate wrapup

Here's my (belated) analysis of winners and losers in Tuesday night's mayoral debate. My ups and downs just indicate whether I think the candidate helped or hurt his chances. They aren't necessarily related to my overall view of who's winning or which candidate I personally prefer.

David Bovee (up): His candidacy is going nowhere, so anything he did outside of swinging an ax or throwing up on another candidate probably would have helped him. He sounded less versed than some of the others, but rational and mainstream. He probably should come up with a better description of his career than "retired."

Larry Brewster (down): Brewster came across as the apologist for the current council and staff, and that's a tough job. I don't think anybody can win this election who doesn't sound as if he could make things better. Brewster seemed to promise more of the same.

Al Garver (up): Impressive showing. He sounded remarkably well schooled on the issues, quite reasonable and quite articulate. The crowd, which was fairly large and fairly old, had obvious sympathy for his complaints about the wording of the public safety mill levy. In my experience, incumbents generally can bury challengers on the facts -- it takes a long time to get up to speed on all the stuff that government does. But Garver sounded ready to hit the ground running.

Cliff Hanson (down): Came across more as a perpetual candidate than as a committed citizen ready to take the next step in public service. He seemed to lack clear vision and goals, and he was the only candidate who sounded at all downbeat about Billings' future. While that may be rational, it's probably not good politics.

Michael Larson (up): He's not an incumbent, but he's a fairly recent council member, which puts him a tricky position. He could criticize recent council decisions without sharing the blame, but he still needed to sound as if the city did something right in the eight years he helped run it. In my view, he handled the challenge masterfully. He's well versed on the issues, thoroughly articulate, and is able to sound like he is making bold pronouncements while actually outlining positions nearly everyone would agree with. Probably the big winner of the debate.

Ron Tussing (neutral): He carries lots of baggage in this race, some helpful and some not. The Tussing supporters were by far the most visible in the crowd, and they didn't hear anything to change their minds. But I'm not sure that voters who are skeptical about his motives and diplomacy heard anything to change their minds either.

My straight news account is here.

18 comments:

concerned voter said...

I got to tell you David- the forum was a good ground for people to see real candidates. I am impressed as well with Al and his knowledge. He's not about to be taught a lesson. I look forward to see what the others do in the next forum on the 24th

Anonymous said...

If Garver wants 4-6% growth in Billings rather than the somewhat manageable 2% then he had better figure out how to pay for the infrastructure to support it.

Anonymous said...

Big Al want's "growth"?? Why? Maybe he should explain just WHY growth for the sake of growth is a good thing! Isn't that what cancer is????? Seems to me that there's LOTS of people that like Billings just the way it is! And the folks that want more growth, well, IT'S ALL OUT THERE! How bout Boise?????

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

Anonymous said...

Boise is an interesting study. They have attracted a lot of big employers but much of Boise is without street lights and sidewalks and the streets are in horrible condition.

Eric Coobs said...

David - when you were getting in your car after the forum I asked you if you had it narrowed down to 2 candidates. I've got it down to 3 after the first forum, how about you?

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anon! The thing that really, really, REALLY gets me is that we've all these bozos like Big Al, the "conservative christian" candidate (whatEVER in the hell THAT means) running their mouths bout how we need to grow, grow, GROW! My question is why, why, WHY? If ya really don't LIKE livin' in a small community or state, MOVE YOUR ASS SOMEWHERE ELSE! I don't recall a lot of invitations bein' sent out for immigrants to MOVE here to Montana! I know, that might sound a bit rude, kinda like Oregon Gov. Tom McCall back in the sixties when he told people to visit Oregon but go back home. But seriously, MOST people move here to ESCAPE from the blighted cities in other places! But hey, Big Al, the christian, wants to MAKE Billings like Portland, Boise, or some other nasty place to live! I would expect from a candidate NOT the standard boilerplate horsesh*t about how they're gonna make the community grow. I want to hear HOW THEY'LL MAKE THE PLACE BETTER!, and that's NOT the same thing as growth! Takes a whole lot more skill to address those issues than flatulate about growth and more growth! But hey, what do I know?! I only lived in Billings when there was no mall, or tall buildings! And it was pretty damn nice back then! And people gotta start to understand that they need to take care of the place that THEY live, instead of always trying to escape! But they'd be Montana, The Last Best Escape! What happens after Montana is turned into a manure pile too?!!! Think about it!
LK

David said...

Eric, Two, I think.

KarbonKountyMoos said...

Larry, the railroads and the Great Western Sugar Company encouraged (and advertised) for immigrants to move here.

Anonymous said...

True. But just WHAT THE HELL CENTURY WAS THAT?? Ya see, Moos, you've missed my point, whether on purpose or not. Please don't rebut my sarcasm, rather the main point. And that is Montana is what it is BECAUSE of what it is. Low population, high quality of life! And now, Big Al, the "christian", wants us to grow and grow and grow and grow! Sorry, but I don't get it. That's the easy, coward's way to campaign. Tell me HOW YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE LIFE BETTER! Heck, look at where YOU live. I know people born and raised in Red Lodge who won't even go back there to visit. To depressing. Too many changes. And I know the feeling. It's happened to me too. I don't necessarily equate bigger with better! To quote Steinbeck in Travels With Charley when he entered Seattle in 1962 after a twenty year absence, he remarked, "Why does progress look so much like destruction"? True story! Pull out your copy and look. I simply want loudmouthed know-nothings to STOP farting about progress and tell us how progress will make things better! More people, more crowds, more crowded roads, less privacy, higher home prices, loss of small town atmosphere, etc, etc. And HEY, it's ALL OUT THERE! I get sick and tired of the morons who want progress and more progress. IT'S ALREADY ALL OUT THERE! Portland, Seattle, Denver, and hell, you can still call yourself a westerner! My mom's side of the family came from Crestted Butte, Colorado in the 1880's. It was a small mining town then, kinda like Red Lodge. Now, the billionaires are pushing out the millionaires! So much for visiting the home place! And Red Lodge will follow some day. And it's happening throughtout the entire West. I DON'T happen to think that morons who spout "economic growth" endlessly are the best folks to be governing! Oh sure, the Chamber of Cancer folks will love all that flatulence, but does this really translate in to a better quality of life??????


LK

LK

KarbonKountyMoos said...

Larry, darling - I do agree with you regarding growth. But like you, I don't have a dog or pony in the tragic city's politics. And I don't know how much "growth" Al wants or doesn't.

But let's leave Billings for a place closer to my home...

I always say that I had to come to Montana to meet so many uptown people. I moved to Red Lodge in 1980. From NYC, Larry. I tended bar for Roger Newman, since I was told that I was "overqualified" to work at the banks. I was 23 years old. Uh-oh - now you all know... Overqualified - give me a break. Folks have been babbling about Red Lodge being the next Telluride or Aspen since (& probably long before) then. Why would they want that? Why do they cater to the "uptown"?
$$$$$$ Greed $$$$$$$
Then they piss & moan & complain about out of staters. Most of the biggest slumlords in Red Lodge are at least 2nd generation - aren't they?

Anonymous said...

More growth equals more true believers filling the pews at Faith Chapel driving out the sinners and the infidels.

Anonymous said...

Moos, 1980, huh? Well then, you know what Red Lodge used to be like. Great town back then. Still pretty unspoiled, and one of my favorite places on earth! I love Red Lodge and the Beartooths! As far a change goes, it's inexorable. But my only point is that these bozo retards like Garver need to EXPLAIN why growth is so great! Call me stupid, or call me a Luddite, or even a stupid dumbassed Luddite. But by God don't tell me that growth is a good thing unless you can tell me why! That's all. Ever been campin' up in Palisades? I used to camp there all the time with my kids. Saw bears and lots of moose. Nearly got run over by a cow and calf while hiking that trail up to the ski lodge one time when my kids were quite little. Another time, same trail, my dumbassed dog treed a baby bear! THAT was scary! I taught one year in Red Lodge, and loved it, and damned near moved there. But I couldn't sell my house in Billings, and the commute was just a leetle too long from Billings Heights. I really miss that country. Haven't seen it for twelve years, except for a quick trip over the Beartooth Highway about three years ago. In 1979, me and four other guys from Billings ran from Red Lodge to Cooke City just for the helluva it. It was fun! Took us fifteen hours. I don't think that had ever been done before. You're DAMN LUCKY to be able to live there! And shoot, the winters there are WAY overrated! They're much worse in other areas of the state.

LK

Eric Coobs said...

Larry I didn't know you were a cross-country runner - Red Lodge to Cooke City is a heckuva climb!

And Karen, you probably served us many a beer - depending on what bar you were in.

Some Saturday if you're in Red Lodge, stop in at the Lumber yard and introduce yourself - I help him out there most Saturdays -

Anonymous said...

Eric, in my youth! Like they say, no brain no pain! I WAS DAMN GOOD AT IT! I, like Forest Gump, just took a notion to start running long before it became popular. I ran back in the days when there were NO adult runners. The only runners were kids on the highschool teams. And back in the old days, people would drive by and see me running and stop and ask if I needed a ride. They couldn't BELIEVE that someone would be out in the middle of nowhere just running for exercise! True story. I started running in about 1970, and I still run. In Billings in the early seventies, there were about three other adult runners. And we ran all winter, which was kind of a unique thing to do at the time, becuase the predominant wisdom said that you would "freeze your lungs"! Well, it turned out to be a lie. We never did, and I STILL run. (now I coach cross country. tomorrow, will do about five in the morning before school). I ended up doing many marathons and ultra-marathons, but now I'm a slogger, a slow jogger. I will probably keep going unitl the knees and hips give out. It's coming. I can tell. Then, I'll have to do like Bush and ride a bike!

LK

KarbonKountyMoos said...

We farm 18 miles away from Red Lodge, so I'm now a Valley Girl.

I'd like to hear a candidate explain what they mean by "growth", instead of just throwing the word out there.

It's more like which bar didn't I tend at one time or another, Eric.

Larry, I assume that you know Herb & Barb.

Chuck Rightmire said...

Like Larry, I think growth is highly overrated and the type of growth we're now getting in Billings seems to me to more than most. Why is the city taking in non-contiguous areas in the west end and up Blue Creek and then raising rates so I have to help pay for their services, fire and police?

Eric Coobs said...

It's pretty simple Chuck - as long as you're willing to keep paying the tab, new subdivisions are profitable for the developers & realtors.

Shirley McDermott says now that annexing Briarwood was the big mistake of this City Council.

Anonymous said...

Realtors, Developers, and all of them are only concerned with one thing $$$$ ME I'd rather say PAY as you GO but then that is probably not too popular is it?

By hey that is just ME