Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lessons Learned from the Elections

Future Dunwoody politicians learned some valuable lessons from Tuesday's runoff.

The first lesson learned is negative campaigning DOES NOT WORK in this city. PERIOD!  Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to get to know Bob Dallas.  He's a good man.  I can't think of a time when he said anything bad about anyone. However, Bob made the mistake of hiring a high-powered, high-priced political consultanting firm with a history of "going negative."  In the past few weeks, Dallas' campaign sent out mailers - and supposedly robo calls, although I did not receive one - that made mountains-out-of-mole-hills about insignficant flaws on Mike Davis' record. There may even have been inaccuracies in the materials.  The backlash was brutal.  Clearly, the negative nonsense hurt Dallas more than it helped.  It's the second time a candidate has tried negative tactics in Dunwoody. Those candidates are now 0-for-2.

What also hurt Bob was the fact that he did not take a strong stance against the parks' bonds, which failed by a 2-to-1 margin on the November ballot.  
While the bonds hurt Dallas, they crushed incumbent councilman Robert Wittenstein in his race against Terry Nall.  The bonds were like an albatross around Robert's neck, as his lost by, ironically, almost the same percentage as the bonds.  Although I didn't see eye-to-eye with Robert on many issues, he did earn my respect for the time and energy he put into the job, which is technically a part-time gig. At times, Robert appeared to be omnipresent - seemingly at every community meeting and event.  He says he will remain active in the community.  Hopefully that is the case.

Finally, what we learned is that the mayor and council cannot have their own agenda, regardless of how noble their intentions.  The agenda must match the will of the people, or our elected officials will pay dearly at the ballot box.  

1 comment:

Joe Seconder said...

"Here Here", Bob. I'm all in agreement for keeping it positive. Wittenstein / Nall did a great job at that. For our next election cycle, let's keep an eye for the first salvos and see who goes negative first and keep a record - whether directly by the candidate, a proxy (editorial, etc.) or reporting in the press (leaning for or against a candidate, selecting balanced quantity of editorials Pro & Con, etc.).

I also would like to see a tangible effort for all sides to work together for the common good. Compare this to the national level during the primaries. Once the final candidate is chosen, everyone comes together and supports the winner. Life's too short, after all.