By Mark Vasto
Chances are, if you haven't voted already (the polls at Parkville were humming for a primary election) you might be on the fence as to whom you should vote for today.
Perhaps you haven't heard each candidate's message (although The Luminary did a good job presenting both sides of the race on this site...see the posts below) or perhaps you still need to be convinced of the candidate's merits.
To me, this is a very simple race to recommend candidates for. For a few of the races, it's simple in that it takes little thought at all to recognize who should not be in office and aren't worthy of your vote or further thought. Others, I just feel from past experience working with them, make better candidates. Either way, it's easy for me to share who I voted for today -- and why.
We'll start with the Dusenbery / Roper Republican primary election for First District Commissioner.Kathy Dusenbery is the far better choice in this election and what would have been a tepid endorsement from The Luminary at first has turned into a far more enthusiastic one as the race progressed and Beverlee Roper showed her "true colors."
I can make this real easy and save you a lot of reading time by just bringing up Roper's mailings -- in particular the one where Ms. Roper used Photoshop to morph Mrs. Dusenbery's nose into a Pinocchio motif. That mailing was telling for many reasons.
First, it showed a sort of morbid glee on the side of the attacker in that they spent more time in Photoshop on the back than they did proofreading the message on the front. The tagline Ms. Roper attached to the mailing? "She won't lie you."
Let's look past the proofreading, but let's not look past the Photoshop. That was as classless a campaign piece as I have ever seen from a candidate...at least state and national candidates leave their dirty work to anonymously funded PACs. I was literally embarrassed for Ms. Roper. I cannot fathom being happy or enthusiastic sending something like that out in my name. I cannot fathom being proud of my candidate if they did the same. If my mother, sister or friend sent something like that out I'd be ashamed.
One of Kathy Dusenbery's kids called me to complain that someone had sent their mom an anonymous mailing (long the sport of our area's biggest cowards) that said she should be hanged. Then they had to put up with seeing images of their mother depicted as Pinocchio? What the hell is wrong with some people?
Take the time and look over the rhetoric posted on her candidacy's Facebook page. It's ugly and filled with taunts and the kind of sophomoric backslapping you'd expect to see at a grade school's field day event.
Ms. Roper ducked The Luminary when it came time for a sit-down interview. At one point she told me to e-mail her my questions. She said she didn't know how to work her voice-mail at one point. Look, I've been completely flummoxed by voice-mail (as anyone who's ever worked for or with me can attest) and my track record is sketchy at best with e-mail, too.
We don't do e-mail interviews. Also, journalists don't like politicians who duck the media. It certainly speaks to the kind of governance we could expect to see from her should she win office.
Perhaps she was afraid I'd ask about past lawsuits she was involved in? Perhaps she was afraid I'd go over her mailings and their claims about Mrs. Dusenbery. That would be an easy assumption to make since they were completely devoid of any original ideas of her own at all.
If you fell for those mailings, you were Roper doped. Facts are, the one misleading people was Beverlee Roper. Facts are Mrs. Dusenbery did cut your property taxes in half, did refuse reimbursements and has presided over an era of prosperity and progress in Platte County and that bugs some people (particularly the losers of past elections or blowhards with axes to grind).
Facts are Ms. Roper's chief complaint is that some of the stuff Ms. Dusenbery championed in terms of the park system -- a voter-approved sales tax -- was too successful. Ms. Roper said she would raise your property taxes to give County employees a raise. Hey, we all want a raise. Good for the County. Facts still remain, Mrs. Dusenbery did handle County finances extremely well during these economically challenged times.
This isn't a national election and for all of Roper's name dropping of Ronald Reagan, there is little doubt who Reagan would endorse in this election. Either way, I know who I'd rather have representing me in area governmental matters.
Ms. Roper ran an aggressive campaign. She got people talking. She hit buttons. She appealed to the base. Yes, she ran an aggressive campaign but it wasn't an admirable one. At The Luminary, we've always wished Mrs. Dusenbery would do even more to help our area -- particularly in the Google Fiber, high-tech jobs arena -- but given the choice, we'd settle for the status quo. She was taken by surprise by the attack ads and no doubt lost votes but at least she didn't lose her integrity and that should mean a lot to you.
Either way, get out and vote.