Most of Sacramento seems to be reacting to our upcoming local elections by complaining about the Mayor’s race, and how it is a choice among a group of wishy-washy do nothings, impossible longshots and plummeting superstars. I would like to cast your attention towards the one local race that is panning out to be truly exciting, although you wouldn’t know it from the lackluster media coverage.
The District 3 race for the County Board of Supervisors seems to be lost behind the monster dunks, travel-gate, shower-gate and cowboy hats of the mayoral campaign, yet is the one race with a clear contrast between the candidates. This was made particularly clear in the Election Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Sacramento County. This was the most interesting of the forum’s debates because, well, there are actually two people running against each other for this seat. Shocking!
In one corner, in the red trunks, is the well funded, one-term incumbent Susan Peters. In the other corner, wearing blue, we find veteran county administrator and grassroots challenger Warren Harding.
It was incredible to watch the indifference of a bureaucrat expecting to cakewalk toward keeping her job collide with the spit and fire of a community activist fighting for what he believes in. I thought there was going to be a matter/anti-matter-type explosion that would launch the Supes’ Chambers to somewhere near Galt. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for the post-debate discussions in the camps of both candidates.
Peters seemed to be sleepwalking through most of the debate, relying on her rehearsed canned dialogue about County Boards, long-term plans for such-and-such, and patter about making progress on plans to progress into a future of progress. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Harding, on the other hand, came out swinging and never let up with his accusations about too much control on the Board of Supervisors by private developers (which was the bread and butter of the Peters’ household before her recent entry into politics and public administration). Peters seemed almost shocked by his statements. “Me? Kowtow to private developers? How dare he?!!?” seemed to be painted across her ever-reddening face, yet she stuck by her script and ignored Harding’s pointed criticisms of her lackluster job performance and willingness to shovel perks at private developers while neglecting her constituents. This seems to be the formula of so many less-than-adequate politicians, from rookie locals up to the big boy living in the White House: Deer-in-the-headlights blank stares + completely ignoring all criticisms = Nothing is wrong! Everything is fine! Go about your normal business!
I wonder if Peters’ strategy of hypnotically repeating that she is doing her job will hold up for another month amid Harding’s critiques, pointed barbs and demands for change. Harding, on the other hand, has the same month to sell his message that he is the change is needed to provide balance and new opinions on the Board of Supes or risk burning out amid his own passion. When will the local media catch on that this is exciting stuff? When will they begin reporting on more than simple biographic material and lists of endorsements? Come on!
This debate will be rerun every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on metro cable channel 14 until the election. Voters in District 3 should check it out to help them make an informed decision, but anyone who has been itching for a good political fight this season should pop some popcorn and give it a watch, it was high drama.