Monday, July 23, 2007

Who's the Boss? The District 4 Albuquerque City Council Race.

I have been reading with much amusement, both the Eye on Albuquerque Blog, and Mario Burgos Blog as they cover developments in the Albuquerque District 4 City Councilor race. In the blogs there is much discussion over an email which purportedly came from a campaign worker or supporter of Paulette de'Pascal who is facing Brad Winter in the race. The discussion on these blogs is centered on whether Mayor Marty Chavez, and City Employee Greg Payne is behind Mrs De'Pascal's campaign. The email in question made me ponder what I would do should I receive such an email.

In a local political campaign there is much to do and most of the work is done by volunteers and few if any paid staff. While I had a few Democratic political experts volunteering and helping, I had no paid staff. I relied on the expertise of those who had been in many a campaign for advice. I then made the decision on what direction the campaign would take based on my gut feelings, personal knowledge, discussions with my wife, and the advice I received. The campaign was mine to win or lose. I never received advice or emails in such a manner as what has reportedly been emailed to Mrs De'Pascal but I can say that if I did I would thank the sender for their opinion and help, however their services would no longer be required. A good candidate must be a leader and not a follower. He or she must take charge and not be led around on a leash. When I have encountered candidates or elected officials who allowed themselves to be led by individuals or special interests they often fail, either during the election or afterwards.

Making decisions contrary to the advice of "those who have been in races back when I was still in grade school" was sometimes a delicate task. I tried to take into account their advice and make sure they understood how much I appreciated it and how I incorporated their advice into what ever was my final decision. In my case they were volunteers whom I greatly appreciated and who's advice I really did listen to and incorporate into what ever I finally decided. I still have all the volunteers not only as good friends but as loyal allies in any future campaign I would undertake.

This is really the basis of my management style. I have good experienced people working for me and many times before deciding on a course of action we will meet and I will ask their opinion. I will then formulate a plan taking those opinions into account but not necessarily always doing exactly what I am advised. At the same time I try to stay away from micro managing. I try to steer the ship without telling the engine room and communications people how to do their job, only ensuring that they are doing it.

What has really made this whole thing interesting is who released this email to the public? If the candidate were to release it the end result could only be bad. Brad Winter seems to be trying to distance himself from the campaign so why would he release it? The purported author of the email Sandra P. Richardson would have nothing to gain by releasing it either. If the candidate really was confiding in many others and seeking advice from many individuals perhaps she forwarded it to someone who forwarded it to Eye on Albuquerque and Mario Burgos. However the only person who stood to gain from the release of the email is Brad Winter. Now I am not pointing fingers as I and many other candidates have been the victim of an over zealous supporter who did something I would never condone or approve in the name of helping my campaign. All you can do is remind your volunteers at every meeting about the kind of campaign you are running and set the example.

I purposely never talked bad about my opponents and only spoke positively in front of my volunteers in order to set the example and reinforce that any campaigning would be positive and that we would talk about our strengths rather than our opponents weaknesses. However, the motive and consequences of the release of this email is very suspect. The real question out of this whole episode is the age old question, Who dunit?


Henry Bowman said...

I think the inevitable conclusion one must draw relates not to who released the e-mail, but to the more obvious fact that one should not put such information in an e-mail. It is simply to easy for the information to be shared with others. Telephones do have advantages.

Anonymous said...

Now I know what happened to Mayor Marty about two and a half years ago they hooked him and reeled him in and now he tows the line. He used to blackberry me and then suddenly nothing, nada, no rhyme or reason. He became a use 'em and lose 'em guy. I feel a strong wind blowing on the Q.