Monday, March 22, 2010

Bonanza Column 177 – The 2010 Elections

Along with Daylight Savings Time and March Madness, Spring brings with it (at least every other year) the beginning of election season.

While 2010 is technically an "off-year" election, this particular off year brings us some interesting and important choices. In Incline Village/Crystal Bay we will elect two IVGID Trustees, at least one of whom will be new to the Board, and statewide Nevada will elect or re-elect a Senator, a Governor, and most of the rest of the State government.

This is important because, even though we are stuck with John Ensign for another couple of years (unless the current ethics investigation results in his removal), we have the opportunity to unseat Governor Jim Gibbons and to return Harry Reid to the Senate for six more years.

Traditionally, turnout for off-year elections is low compared to Presidential years, and turnout for the primaries, which will be June 8 this year, even lower. This is a good year to make an exception to that rule given what is at stake.

It's too early to make judgments about most of the offices, but I think it's fair to say that there is the opportunity to make some important changes and also to keep some very good people in office. The field for the Governor's race is, as usual, broad and colorful. We have the hapless Mr. Gibbons running for re-election and a whole bunch of Republicans challenging him in the primary including the very well-qualified Brian Sandoval who gave up a lifetime appointment as a Federal Judge to try to unseat the Governor. On the Democratic side there is Rory Reid who, while not widely known in Northern Nevada, looks like a good choice as well.

I've written before in this space about the importance of returning Harry Reid to Washington. We have in Washington right now a junior senator who has shown so little personal integrity that he should resign, yet he refuses to. If we are foolish enough to defeat Reid, then Nevada will be represented by a brand-new junior senator and a senior senator who is under an ethical cloud. Why would we trade being represented by the most powerful member of the Senate for that? Reid has done a good job for Nevada, most recently in the areas of jobs and tourism, and we should retain him and find him a working partner who will do a better job than the feckless Mr. Ensign.

Locally we have Frank Wright of Crystal Bay running for State Senate. Apparently Mr. Wright finds no inconsistency in bringing suit against IVGID and running for public office himself. We'll see if the voters agree. And speaking of IVGID, we have Gene Brockman running for re-election and while most of the rest of the field have not distinguished themselves by local service, there is the surprising entry of Dennis Oliver into the race. Dennis will have to establish an identity for himself as an Incline resident that is separate from his job as spokesperson for TRPA, but if he can do that he could bring a fresh and important perspective to the IVGID Board.

So we'll see how it goes. The first milestone in the various races will be March 23, the last day for candidates who have filed to change their mind and remove their name from the ballot. Then for most races there is the primary election to narrow the field on June 8, after which the races will be on in earnest leading up to election day in November. Hopefully we'll see some real debate on the issues rather than partisan appeals, name-calling, and negative ads and we'll have the opportunity to do some good for our community, state, and the nation.

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