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December 3, 2013
What American Fork Voters Taught Us, Part I
It's time to start compiling the lessons we can learn from November's election in American Fork and considering how to promote good government in its aftermath. We'll start with lessons for future candidates.
When you campaign for something or someone, sometimes the voters smack you hard in the face. It's a lot more fun to be the smacker than the smackee, but last month I was mostly the smackee. Here's what I try to do when that happens: lick my wounds (metaphorically, please!), learn what I can, and jump back into the fray.
Here at the blog, I promised no verbal or graphic wound-licking, whatever that would mean. As to the fray, I want to pen a self-congratulatory ode to jumping back into it even less than you want to read one. But let's see what there is to learn from last month's election results in American Fork, shall we?
I've been pondering this and discussion it with others since Election Night, when the returns came in. Any bad logic or other errors, not to mention any silliness that ensues, you are free to blame on me. Useful insights, if any, may have come from others in some measure; such is the nature of conversation and, especially, of thinking aloud.
We'll just get started today, but, before we're done, we'll come to some serious discussion of what to do next about roads and other challenges in American Fork. As always, your input is welcome; there's a link for that at the bottom of the page.
The Lingering Frustration
Election Day was weeks ago, but some voters' active frustration with the results seems to have an unusual half-life this time. I don't think I'm just projecting my own frustrations, either. People around town are still going out of their way to catch me, when they see me, and talk about things. They thank me for my own (clearly inadequate) efforts to inform the voters, which is very kind of them. They say excellent things about MFCC. Then, usually with no similar expression or any other prompting from me, they express their deep frustration with the majority of voters. Over and over again, I hear the same thoughts: The wisdom of the road bond was self-evident to almost anyone who took the time and trouble to learn the facts. The opponents they knew not only didn't do this; they actively resisted the facts.
In short, I'm not the only one looking at American Fork and regretting the triumph of the low-information voter. It's particularly disheartening, as some have said to me, because for the last decade or so American Fork voters have reliably preferred strong candidates to weak ones, and have been willing to vote for well-conceived bond issues where the City did a good job informing the voters, while rejecting half-baked proposals bundled with inadequate information.
Those sensible days may be gone -- of which more in a subsequent post or two -- and much too soon for my taste. The last several years of mostly-competent governance have not been enough to clean up all the inherited messes. We weren't ready for the next multi-year bout of short-sighted folly.
General Lessons for Candidates
Here are a few lessons from this election for candidates. If they sound too cynical or partisan, I'm sorry. I'm trying to look at the picture dispassionately in a sense, from the viewpoint of someone who wants to run for election or reelection in two years (which I myself do not, but someone out there will have to). However, I refuse to suffer folly gladly, just because the voters happened to prefer it this time.
Lesson one: If you're an incumbent who wants to continue governing, and you like governing a lot more than campaigning, and your opponents are lightweights, you'd still better campaign hard and smart. Otherwise, come January, you may be on the outside looking in. If I call this the George H. W. Bush lesson, will you appreciate that we keep having to learn this, election after election? My partisan opinion is that American Fork's loss in Councilman Craig Nielsen's narrow defeat is considerable. My objective opinion is that it was preventable with an aggressive campaign. That said, I confess that I didn't evaluate the zealot wave in this election as being large enough to push an excellent incumbent to the bottom and both lightweights to the top. (Note: The victors will inevitably put on some weight -- metaphorically speaking -- in the coming weeks and months. I earnestly hope it's a lot of weight and very quickly.)
Lesson two: I'm afraid that the need for an exceptionally good campaign is only increased by what may become the central political reality of the next two years. If, as an incumbent, you vote for a property tax increase which even remotely approaches what we need to fix the roads without bonding, the low-information voters and their zealot leaders will work to destroy you politically. And if you fail to make visible and significant progress toward rebuilding our failing streets, the outcome will be essentially the same, but perhaps with a bit less venom involved. In the latter case you will find yourself opposed by an alliance of loud people who want good roads but don't think they should have to pay for them, and quieter people who are willing to pay the price.
Lesson three: If you're a challenger who wants to win without the great effort required to know what you're talking about during the campaign, all you need is a well-funded group with a little campaign experience to swoop in and create a wave for you (unless you're up against solid candidates who are campaigning hard). You don't need the truth, if you have the low-information voter. Alas, this is not a new lesson, either.
Finally, here's the beauty of a 71-29 margin, if you're on the winning side. If you're a zealot who thinks your statesmanlike righteousness lifts you above the demands of the law and good manners, you can relax and enjoy a measure of immunity -- a margin for error, if you prefer. Your campaigns can place your signs illegally and vandalize the opposition's signs without much risk of costing you the election. You can say completely ridiculous things at multiple public meetings, because there aren't enough informed voters to defeat you at the polls after you do so, and the full breadth and depth of your folly will be known only to a few. You can rest easy while your partisans illegally promote your views to other voters at the polling places. (I heard several such reports, including from poll workers, on Election Day. I admit that I thought the most significant fact in those reports was not the illegal activity itself. It was that turnout was high enough for there to be a line, .)
Every candidate's supporters include a few people who don't care enough about the rules to learn and obey them, or who think being right makes breaking the rules okay. But I wonder if a zealous, self-congratulatory, fact-resistant campaign like the bond opposition this year doesn't actually encourage that lawless attitude somehow.
Subsequent posts, coming soon, will consider other lessons and discuss the prospects for future bonding -- not to mention road reconstruction -- in American Fork, and suggest what we can do going forward to prevent starve-the-government radicals from reducing us to a pathetic, Detroit-like wasteland (on a smaller scale, and by different means) -- a place where no one wants to live, where we drive on gravel streets and fantasize about reducing our fire department to a single, horse-drawn fire engine; and where we look around in puzzlement, wondering what happened to economic vigor, our tax base, and stable neighborhoods.
Was that a hyperbole just now, that bit about Detroit and horse-drawn fire engines? Perhaps. But that's where the zealots' extreme rhetoric leads. We may hope that they would learn wisdom at some point and pull up short of complete societal decay, but nothing in their words suggests that this will happen soon. And if they ever do wake up, they probably won't blame themselves for the destruction they caused. They'll blame the people they elected. Or Satan, maybe.
November 22, 2013
Here's to Poll Workers
I've heard they're an endangered species, but I'd like to think they're not. I'd like to think we're better than that.
A couple of weeks ago, when election returns came in, I wrote something for publication elsewhere. This section was edited out before publication, but it was my favorite part and needs to be said. So I'm posting it here, very slightly edited.
There are some unsung folks we should thank every time we have an election: the poll workers.
I already knew their days start early and end late. This time, after the polls closed, I went to City Hall and watched, as they brought their sealed bags to turn in. I learned two things about them. First, when they turn in their materials at the end of the day, they don't just get a cookie and a bag of chips. They get big hugs. This isn't surprising; people who know what poll workers do love poll workers. Second, they make friends with the other poll workers, and they love to work with the same team, year after year.
So here's to poll workers, including the one who said humbly that night, after a very long day, in response to expressions of gratitude, "It's payback. It's my turn."
November 22, 2013
Big, Thumping Heart Redux
By request . . .
I was pleased and surprised to be invited to Wednesday evening's American Fork High School Marching Band season-ending dinner. It was an honor just to be there, but they also asked me to say some of what I wrote last week about the band and its place in the community. After that, some people wanted a copy of what I said, so I'm posting it here. It's shorter than last week's piece and shows the passage of a few days, the shift in audience from the community to the band itself, and some of the things we do differently when writing for the ear instead of the eye. For what it's worth, here it is, approximately as delivered to a gracious, youthful audience of champions.
I am well aware that no one in the room tonight has contributed less to the wonderfully successful season you are celebrating tonight than I have. I’m honored to be here with you tonight to say to you, face to face, that the American Fork High School Marching Band is the big, thumping heart of American Fork, Utah.
We marvel at how long and hard you work. Then you work harder and longer.
We rejoice at how good you look. Then you find ways to look better.
And your sound . . . Much as we all adore the color guard, your sound is my favorite part of every show. Your sound teaches us why we have bands at all.
The trumpet I played when I was in school went to Grand Nationals last week with one of you, which is a happy thought for me. I loved playing the trumpet, but I didn’t love marching band. I didn’t even like marching band. Only in recent years have I acquired the taste. I can tell you exactly when it happened. It was the moment when I comprehended how much this band means to this community.
True, the city is full of current and former band members and their families, and most people in American Fork at least have a neighbor who is somehow connected to the band. But what's happening here is bigger than that. Even people with no personal connection to the band or the school, and with little interest in band music, are somehow drawn into a remarkable world.
How remarkable? I don’t want to sound condescending, but I want to say that the world you have created is more remarkable than you realize. You can sit in the stadium at a competition – I have done this – near the bands American Fork routinely defeats, and hear drum majors telling their bands, "Be sure to be back here in time to cheer for American Fork. They always cheer for us." Maybe that sounds like a small thing. It is not a small thing.
I wish I could have been in Indianapolis to see you perform. As it was, a lot of people gathered here to watch the live video feeds. You never saw a happier or prouder audience.
Just being good enough to be at Grand Nationals this year or any year was a triumph. Performing well in the preliminary round was another. Giving the best performance of the season in your last performance, which happened to be in the semifinals, was a crowning triumph, even if we all hoped you’d get to perform one more time. Leaving it all on the field or the stage or the court is just about as good as it gets in music or theater or sports. I can't say I didn't care where you placed last weekend, but it doesn't matter much in the grander scheme of things. I value much more what you had already won – or, in other words, what you had already seen and learned, and what you became in the process.
You learned by experience how much harder it is to be excellent than merely good. You learned first-hand, before you ever went to Indianapolis, to pay the even higher price of being great at something, which you are. You learned how to be a team, and how to perfect hundreds of individual performances and knit them into something spectacular and intricate and beautiful.
Your morale and unity are enviable. You'd think that all the winning might make you insufferably proud, but you've learned to take success gracefully. You win, then you come home and work harder. And somehow you still walk from place to place, instead of strutting.
We might call the price of these lessons great sacrifice, but you in the band and we parents and neighbors get so much back for the work, the time, the money, and the enthusiasm we invest, that I’m not sure sacrifice is the right word. Besides that, we still remember too clearly that, four years ago, at milepost 49 south of Pocatello, there was a great sacrifice: the life of a teacher for the lives of some of her students. The seniors in this year's band were only in eighth grade then, but I have heard the name Heather Christensen quietly on the lips of students and parents alike, this season. Long may it be thus.
I happened to see milepost 49 twice last weekend. There’s really nothing for me to do there but keep driving and remember someone I didn’t really know and an incident I’m glad I didn’t see. So that’s what I did. But back to the present.
I join the community in saying: Thank you. You make us proud. You honor your predecessors, your teachers, your families, your neighbors, your school, and your city. You have honored the sacrifice at milepost 49 – not so much by your many victories, but by higher things, for which we usually do not give trophies.
In a world which sometimes seems designed to obscure the best, most hopeful, and most lasting things – such as grace and courage and loyalty and excellence – you have found and embraced them, pulled them from their hiding places, and placed them squarely in front of the rest of us, where we cannot help but see and remember and rejoice. That is a greater gift to the larger community outside the band than you could possibly know from your honored place inside the band.
One more thing. Not only have you done this crucial thing for us. You have done it beautifully.
November 15, 2013
The Big, Thumping Heart of American Fork
. . . is in Indianapolis just now. It's a band. (We'll return to politics soon enough.)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The American Fork High School Marching Band is the big, thumping heart of American Fork, Utah.
We marvel at how long and hard they work. Then they work harder and longer.
We rejoice at how good they look. Then they find a way to look better.
And their sound . . . Their sound is my favorite part of every show. Their sound teaches us why we have bands at all.
I don't play trumpet any more, but I wasn't bad, back in the day, at the little high school across the river from Blackfoot, Idaho. (Blackfoot was where a young band teacher named John Miller plied his trade, before he moved to American Fork to become an old band teacher, and I was always jealous of their program.) I was good enough for a while to win a place in the all-state band, and I got some nice comments from a judge or two for a little solo, when my high school jazz band played at the BYU Jazz Festival. I marched in a couple of local parades and at a few football halftimes. But I never worked as hard at it as these young people, and I never did so well. And I hated marching band.
Trumpet was my first love in music. Until some real men demonstrated to me that vocal music was for real men too, not sissies, I disdained that. But I found my way into an elite, hard-working high school vocal group, the Snake River High School Chamber Singers. I remember a competition where other choirs gathered just to watch us warm up, then applauded enthusiastically when we finished. But there were only two dozen of us. To achieve the same -- or perhaps even a greater -- level of unity and excellence with ten times that many high school performers year after year simply boggles the mind.
As with soccer, for me, so with marching band: Only in recent years have I acquired the taste. I can tell you exactly when it happened. It was the moment when I comprehended how much this band means to this community. It was well before our third child picked up a mellophone and made my wife and me into marching band parents. (Now I aspire to be a "band dad" someday, but that is a tale for another season.)
True, more than a hundred households have someone in the band in any given year, and hundreds more who don't this year did in the past. True, the adult population of American Fork is laced with former band members, and almost everyone in the city at least has a neighbor who is somehow connected to the band. But what's happening here is more than that. Even people with no personal connection to the band and with little interest in band music are somehow drawn into a remarkable world.
How remarkable? You can sit in the stadium at a competition, near the bands American Fork routinely defeats, and hear drum majors telling their bands, "Be sure to be back here in time to cheer for American Fork. They always cheer for us."
The big, thumping heart of American Fork is in Indianapolis this weekend at Grand Nationals, an annual competition which is both grand and national. They performed this morning in the preliminary round. People who know more about these things than I do are confident that they'll be performing tomorrow in the semifinal round, with the best of the bands. We're all hoping that they'll make the final round of twelve after that, and perform once more with the best of the best. In any case, two band rooms full of parents and family gathered for a few minutes at the high school to watch a live video feed of this morning's performance. You never saw a happier or prouder audience -- and I mean the good kind of pride, not the bad kind.
Several years ago, events taught us to hope and pray even a little more earnestly than before for the safety of these good youth and their teachers, as they travel to and from competitions. Then the band itself showed us en masse what grace and courage look like. I won't recapitulate the story in detail, but we can never have too many close-up lessons in grace and courage. That year, a slot opened up at Grand Nationals at the last minute, an invitation was extended, and the community gathered $250,000 in three days to fund the expedition. The band almost made the finals even without tailoring their show all year for national competition. They won the Esprit de Corps award; as I wrote at the time, it was hard to imagine any corps displaying more esprit than that one, that year.
Just being good enough to be there again is a triumph. Getting there is another. Performing well is a third -- and they did. I can't say I don't care where they place this weekend, but it doesn't matter much in the grander scheme of things. I value even more what they have already won -- or, in other words, what they have already seen and learned, and what they are becoming in the process.
They have learned by experience how much harder it is to be excellent than merely good. They have learned first-hand to pay the even higher price of being great at something. They've learned how to be a team, and how to knit hundreds of individual performances into something spectacular and beautiful.
Their morale and unity are enviable; I guess it helps that they win almost everything locally, but perpetual success doesn't always have a happy effect. (Just ask the Beatles.) You'd think that all the winning would make them insufferably proud (in the bad, insufferable sense of pride). But they've learned to take success gracefully. They win, they work harder. And somehow they still walk from here to there, instead of strutting. (I think we must allow them to float a bit, once this weekend's work is done, but that's different.)
I would write that these priceless lessons and experiences come at great sacrifice, but we know better. They routinely come at great cost, financial and otherwise. But the return on investment here, for students and their families, is more than ample. Thus we cannot call it great sacrifice.
There is another reason. We still remember too clearly that, four years ago, at milepost 49 south of Pocatello, there was an ultimate sacrifice: the life of a teacher for the lives of some of her students. I've heard rumors that Heather Christensen was John Miller's heiress apparent, upon his eventual retirement. Whether that's true or not, and despite the fact that the seniors in this year's band were only in eighth grade then, I have heard her name quietly on the lips of students and parents alike, this season. Long may it be thus.
I join the community in saying: Thank you, our youthful friends. You make us proud. You honor your predecessors, your teachers, your families, your neighbors, your school, and your city. You honor the sacrifice at milepost 49.
In a world which sometimes seems designed to obscure the best, most hopeful, and most lasting things, you have found and embraced them, pulled them from their hiding places, and placed them squarely in front of us, where we cannot help but see and remember and rejoice. Not least, you have done so beautifully.
Godspeed and safe journey.
November 7, 2013
Results from My Unscientific Election Day Poll
And a few thoughts, mostly related.
We're surrounded by opinion polls and people telling us what they mean. A lot of them are created to tell us what someone wants us to believe. In any case, it's very important to evaluate a poll and its results not only in terms of what it says, but in terms of what it doesn't say. What do the numbers mean? is only half the question. The other half is, you guessed it, What don't they mean?
On Election Day, which I admit is rather late to be thinking of such things, I decided to put out a short online opinion poll for American Fork voters. I knew I wouldn't have a properly scientific, random sample which might be useful for predicting results. What I really wanted was to see why people voted as they did, and what information sources they would identify as having the greatest influence on their decisions.
Thanks to all 65 people who responded; that's about 1.6 percent of the voters who voted. Special thanks to Danny Crivello, Rod Martin, and any others who promoted the poll to their Facebook friends.
This brings me to my next disclaimers, and they're important. The fact that it was an online poll skews answers about influential information sources toward the Internet. The fact that I advertised it mostly through social media increases this distortion. And, much as I tried to pull in plenty of people who disagreed with my votes, you'll see that the results are predictably skewed toward those of my readers and Facebook friends.
Not a Scientific Sample
Just to prove that I wasn't kidding about the unscientific sample . . .
- Respondents had Mayor Hadfield winning 79 to 17 percent; the actual margin was less than 8 percent.
- Respondents had Craig Nielsen roughly doubling Jeffrey Shorter's votes, and Shorter roughly doubling Carlton Bowen's. The actual results were quite close, with Bowen finishing first, Shorter second, and Bowen third.
- Respondents voted for the road bond issue about 72 to 28 percent -- almost exactly the reverse of the actual result.
I never put any stock in these results as a predictor. If they had tracked closely with the actual results, I still would have thought that a coincidence, not a triumph of last-minute poll design. But I had to ask people how they voted to provide context for their answers about why they voted as they did.
Now for the interesting part -- at least, interesting if you're into this sort of thing.
In the mayoral race:
- Voters who favored Mayor Hadfield cited his character, competence, experience, mastery of infrastructure, and what they saw as a favorable track record. Even some who said they aren't pleased with the general direction of the City said they chose him because he seemed to be the better leader of the two.
- Numerous Hadfield voters questioned Bill Thresher's qualifications, preparation, and experience. (This is no surprise. Some of them met him, and in any case I encouraged this view in my writings before the election.)
- Voters who favored Bill Thresher didn't like the City being in debt and think change is needed. Their explanations describe protest votes more than positive support of the challenger. One voter even explained that he or she voted this way as a protest, not out of conviction that the challenger was good.
(However, bear in mind that the sample here is small and very skewed.)
In the city council race:
- Voters who favored one or both challengers expressed anti-incumbent sentiments or wanted change. Some cited opposition to debt or the road bond specifically.
- Craig Nielsen's supporters found him intelligent, sensible, honest, and practical. They found the challengers poorly informed, too far right, impractical, detached from reality, and susceptible to innuendo. (Again we see clearly that my readers were overrepresented in the poll.)
- About one-fourth of respondents voted for Nielsen, but didn't cast a second vote. Some who did cast that second vote chose Jeffrey Shorter, thinking he might be more likely than Bowen to learn and grow into the role.
- Three reported casting write-in votes for Heidi Rodeback (known here at the blog as MFCC). (These votes were not officially counted or reported, because she did not file as a write-in candidate at least 60 days before the election.)
- One respondent voted for Nielsen and asked, "How much longer until Dale Gunther returns from his mission?"
The Road Bond
As to the proposed road bond issue:
- Several opponents mistakenly asserted that it was for ongoing maintenance, not one-time reconstruction, and they oppose borrowing for ongoing maintenance (as do I). Several said borrowing was just an easy way out. Some thought $20 million too much for 15.4 miles of rebuilt roads (suggesting that they have not studied the actual costs). Several incorrectly blamed the current council and mayor, rather than their predecessors, for the drastic cuts in road maintenance budgets which began in the 1990s. One blamed it on "bad installation of utilities."
- Supporters believed the bond issue to be the most economical approach, cited the economic and other advantages of fixing more roads sooner, and expressed reluctance to keep kicking the can down the road.
My conclusion here, with respect to the road bond's resounding defeat, is that misinformation ruled the day.
Influential Information Sources
To me the most interesting question was the last one, asking which sources of information were influential. But I'm not sure what I learned. Here are some notes:
- Informational meetings and personal contacts with candidates and officials were often mentioned.
- Most respondents cited multiple sources.
- Fliers and mailings were mentioned far less than online sources. The newspaper fared well, in print and online. (Remember what I said earlier; the nature of the poll skewed results toward online sources.) This blog, other blogs, Facebook pages and statuses, the City's web sites, and pro- and anti-bond sites were all mentioned frequently.
- Consultation with friends, neighbors, and family members who are attentive to City government were important.
- Common sense and observing the City over a period of years also were mentioned.
If there are conclusions to be drawn from these responses to the last question, perhaps they are these: Paper is still relevant. Online sources are tremendously important. The ground game -- personal contacts -- is still crucial, and trusted friends and neighbors play a prominent role.
While We're at It, Some Web Analytics
Looking not at the poll, now, but at some web analytics related to LocalCommentary.com, I see the following:
- Voters in about 400 households read at least one of my blog posts about candidates or the road bond. These households represent about 800 voters, almost three times the margin of victory in the mayoral race. I'm not claiming credit for Mayor Hadfield's victory. But it's possible that I helped a little.
- Google searches for Bill Thresher dramatically outnumbered searches for Mayor Hadfield. (This is not suprising; Thresher is less known.) A high percentage of people who searched for Thresher clicked through to this blog, where he didn't fare well. Note to future candidates: Make sure opponents are not the only people putting significant content about you on the web.
- Dozens of people listened to at least one of the audio segments I posted from meet-the-candidates events. This is more than I expected.
I thought it might be less than ten, but I was still willing to go to the trouble, because people who do that sort of thing tend to be opinion leaders in their circles and neighborhoods, so the impact is multiplied.
Hundreds of people read my notes and commentary on the candidates, the road bond, or both. (Thanks!) Some printed them out and handed them to friends, neighbors, or family members who don't lurk on the Internet. (Thanks!) Most of my traffic came through Facebook; I conclude that blog posts not promoted in social media draw little traffic, at least in my little world. I also conclude that a lot of voters and residents want more information and opinion than they're getting about local issues. I realize this conclusion is self-serving. So is the next one.
Having observed my efforts to inform and persuade the voters in this election, a friend looked at the results and asked me late Tuesday evening, "Do you feel insignicant?" In truth, I never felt myself very significant, but one does what one can. This suggests a follow-up question: Do I feel as if all the time and effort I invested, mostly in losing causes, was in vain?
No. I'm a little cranky with the voters right now, and two of three votes didn't go my way, and my property taxes should be going up a lot more next year than they would have, if the road bond issue had passed. But there are a lot voters out there (not enough yet) who understand roads, bonding, their local government, etc., better than they did a month ago. This is knowledge that will be useful in the long term and will generally tend toward good government. Besides that, a lot of my readers have gone out of their way to thank me very kindly for my small part of the picture.
So what do we do in (partial) defeat? We lick our wounds, learn what we can, and jump back into the fray. Or, if we're your friendly local blogger, we do that and also compose a blog post about it, which is coming soon.
Except for the wound-licking. I don't know how to put that in a blog post, and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to see or read about it anyway.
Thanks for reading, everybody. Thanks for all the thanks. You're welcome.
November 5, 2013
I Was Wrong, Wrong, Wrong . . .
In my predictions about election results, that is.
Here's a quick survey of American Fork's election results.
Be advised that 615 early votes have already been counted, with about 20 provisional ballots from early voting yet to be adjudicated. Of 699 absentee ballots requested, 404 were returned in time to be counted this evening. Any of the others which were postmarked in time and arrive in the next several days, before the final results are certified, will be counted, as will any provision ballots from today which are judged to be valid. (City Recorder Dick Colborn rattled off these numbers to me from memory tonight, and I wouldn't be surprised if he got them exactly right. But we'll cut him some slack, if he's off a little.) It is extremely unlikely that any still-uncounted ballots will change any result.
Turnout was about 27 percent, more than three times as high as 2011 (8.7%, just a city council election) and slightly higher than 2009 (25.7%, with mayoral and council elections). The conventional wisdom that good turnout is bad for bond issues is validated once again.
According to the county's preliminary report, with all precincts counted, the results are as follows:
- Mayor James H. Hadfield defeated Bill Thresher about 54% to 46% (far closer than I predicted)
- Challengers Carlton Bowen (36%) and Jeffrey Shorter (33%) won the two city council seats, leaving one-year incumbent Craig Nielsen (30%) the odd man out. (I predicted Nielsen and Bowen.)
- The road bond issue, which I predicted would win by a decent margin, lost by about the same margin, about 71% to 29%.
See why they confiscated my crystal ball years ago?
Congratulations to the winners; thanks to all who stepped forward to run. It's not easy.