Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Elections as Cultural Dipsticks
There are a couple of municipal runoff elections that will tell us something about the mental faculties, meanness factors, and motivation levels of area residents. It will probably be after midnight before the Benton and Washington county election commissions report the light vote, but the results will be reflections of the civic culture of Springdale and Rogers. Greenland and Farmington each have council seats in play, but who really cares? Not the voters, apparently, as less than 60 people have voted early in Washington County.
The Ward 3 seat in Springdale, due to an archaic system of political control, is elected by voters citywide. Stagecoach Mogul Ray Dotson is making yet another bid for public office after having been rejected in the mayor's race in 2008, and he is opposed by Brad Burns, a real estate peddler once ranked by Arkansas Business as the 16th top producing residential agent in all of Springdale. Neither appear to be visionaries, so the choice for Springdale's powers that be are between former Alderman Dotson or former real estate guy, between gaudy flash and gray flannel.
In Rogers, Tea Party Kurt Maddox of Gravette, having lost in the GOP congressional primary, now wants to be mayor. Jim Bob Duggar, former Springdale legislator and recent Fayetteville parade marshall, has endorsed him. He was also endorsed in a mystery letter, and he sent a campaign mailer pretending that he was endorsed by current mayor Steve Womack, who denies it. The other candidate is Greg Hines, who once ran for County Judge, a Benton County employee who has served on the City Council for twelve years. He says he will keep up the Womack tradition. His opponents say he is a damned Democrat, or worse, a liberal. The results will provide some benchmark on the success of the Pod People in taking over Rogers and erasing the cranial hard drives of its original residents, a struggle that has been ongoing since Daisy manufacturing fled the unions of Michigan and landed in low-wage Rogers 52 years ago.
In neither race will Hispanic voters have much influence, nor will they until registration and turnout begin to reflect the size of the population.