Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Political Desk: A Town Called Kent (Part One)

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit naïve. I tend to look for the silver linings. I tend to think the best of people. I am, as they say in Chicago, a goo-goo – a good government type, to be laughed at and reviled by those in power. And most of the time I'm cool with it.

But this race.  This particular race. This race just makes me sad.

I am talking about the City of Kent Council Position No. 6. I already vented my frustration on getting the primary wrong over here. Short version – I read the write-ups for the primary and said “Yeah, they all sound pretty good”. And then I find out that one of the candidates has been arrested for stealing from his own mother. No, seriously. Candidate Ken Sharp has been accused, arrested, and will stand trial on November 20 for pillaging his mom’s saving account of nearly $300,000.

And this is particularly maddening given that Mr. Sharp is running as the sound-businessman, former President of the local Chamber of Commerce type. Despite the appearance that American Business seems to be overwhelmed with thieves and sociopaths these days, would it have KILLED them to have a guy in charge that wasn't, you know, ripping off his own mother?

And even Mr. Sharp is exonerated (and yeah, I’m still an optimist), I’m going to say that a guy with major criminal charges is going to be a tad bit distracted when it comes to governing.  And if found guilty, he would have a hard time making it to council meetings.

So, we have the other guy at least, Bailey Stober. Well, not so fast, cowboy.

As might be expected in such a situation where a candidate is facing serious time, there has been a lot of mudslinging going on, primarily in Kent Reporter’s letters to the editor and their Facebook page. A wide variety of claims have been made against Mr. Stober, some of which have risen to the point of being commented upon by the candidate. In general, the mud has been flying so thick that the Carpinito brothers are looking a bumper crop this year (local joke).

But in all this kerfuffle there is one point that does stick – Mr. Stober has not put in his paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission (you have to dig it out here from the database), which shows his campaign raising money but not its expenditures. Normally this is a small point, but it is the one I can look at, dust off the muck, summon my goo-goo mojo and say yeah, what’s the deal here?

And to further cloud the issue, there is another candidate in the mix, now. Former council member Debbie Raplee has recently put her name in as a write-in candidate because of concerns about Mr. Sharp’s legal problems and Mr. Stober’s residency requirements (Mr. Stober has denied there is a problem). And while I respect Ms. Raplee’s decision, we knew about Mr. Sharp’s ongoing legal situation for some time, and only NOW she decided she needed to enter the race?

So where am I on this? Well, if all accusations against both candidates are true, then Bailey Stober remains the better choice, because his accused sins are venal, not mortal. Furthermore, they are not currently before a court of law. If NONE of the accusations on both sides are true, I’m going to recommend  Bailey Stober still, because he’s going to be more focused on the job.

So we go with BAILEY STOBER, with a good sharp kick to get his bloody paperwork in.

More later,