Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bonanza Column 184 – IVGID Candidates and a Quick Note on the Governor

Last Monday's IVGID Candidate Forum sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Bonanza was, overall, very informative and well done. Most of the six candidates (the June 8 primary will eliminate two) for the two open seats were thoughtful and conducted themselves well, keeping to the issues and the questions put to them and refraining from attacking each other.

Some themes emerged from the questions and answers. One obvious concern was finances – IVGID has an aging infrastructure that will cost money to repair, and this raises concerns and questions about where the money is going to come from, etc.

It was clear that most of the candidates had done their homework and they were able to answer some complex questions pretty cogently. Because questions were formulated in advance, mostly by Bonanza readers with some by Bonanza staff, many addressed candidates' previous statements and positions, and here in some cases the candidates acquitted themselves less well. Particularly this early in the game I don't expect candidates to be thoroughly versed in the minutiae of the IVGID budget etc., but if a candidate has made it a plank in their platform to improve something, I think it's reasonable to expect them to provide some specifics on how they will do that, and in this some of the candidates' answers were woefully insufficient.

There was one trend I found disturbing on a couple of levels. It's one thing, and I think it's fair game, to run against the record of the current Board of Trustees – to cite, for example, some instances where you think they have spent money unwisely and to say how you would have handled it. I don't think, however, that it's fair or wise to run against the IVGID staff. It's easy to criticize, but the staff works under the Board's direction. In my experience the IVGID staff are to a person hard-working, dedicated, and competent, and where the candidates are concerned the staff are not in a position to defend themselves. More importantly, candidates, if you are elected you will be working with this staff – are you sure you want to start off in an antagonistic relationship with them?

Some minor fuss has been made of one candidate's mention of the General Manager's salary and the budget item for IVGID to provide the GM with a vehicle every few years. Again, if you want to get people's attention, it's easy to do that by talking about money, but both items are, in my view, specious. The GM makes as much as the Governor of Nevada – so what? He also makes orders of magnitude less than officers in the private sector who manage smaller organizations and smaller budgets and who have a lot fewer resource constraints. Of what possible relevance is the comparison to the Governor. A company car is not at all unusual as a benefit for someone whose job is 24/7 and takes him all over the district. Most companies and agencies consider it more economical than trying to figure out how to reimburse such an official for use of his private vehicle.

The point, candidates, is this: tell us what you're for, not what you're against. Offer solutions, not criticism or problems. If there are areas you think you can make work better for us, the residents whose assets you propose to hold in trust, tell us how, and be specific. Don't get sucked into the temptation to just criticize and complain – we have enough of that around this community; let's hear how you'll make it better.


On another quick note, Governor Dim Gibbons seems to have stepped in it again. He took an answer that his opponent, Brian Sandoval, gave to an inane interview question some years ago, took it out of context, and is trying to use it to label Sandoval an anti-Semite. I guess the guv's getting desperate. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Gibbons as the GOP candidate – I'm a Rory Reid supporter – but really, Sandoval is very good and would be a better governor than Gibbons has been on his best day, and he doesn't deserve this level of mud-slinging.

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