The Kuna City Council race is starting to get weird and heated. With 10 candidates running for two seats, it shouldn’t come as much surprise. In 15 years in the newspaper business covering dozens of cities in five states, I can assure you that Kuna is not unique in its penchant for small-town politics and bickering over petty slights.
But I can assure you that it’s never really much fun and it usually adds little to civil debate about issues.
You know that saying that the only two things certain in life are death and taxes? I would like to add another: Fights over campaign signs during an election. From Carlsbad, N.M., to Chardon, Ohio, to San Mateo, Calif., to Greece, N.Y., it’s always the same. Usually it’s about someone stealing someone’s campaign signs. In Kuna at the moment, we have some confusion over where campaign signs are allowed. Apparently, the signs are allowed on public property, but they can’t be in the public right-of-way, which apparently is where some candidates are placing their signs.
Terribly pressing issue that will decide the fate of the universe, right?
One of the candidates, Dave Szplett, wrote an email to all of the candidates saying, “I am amazed that nine people believe that they are qualified to run for city council but can’t even figure out what is public property. Worse, is how can someone break the sign law and still ask for the public’s trust. Maybe the news people will write up something on this obvious issue. Maybe if they cared.”
That spurred another candidate, Corinna Stiles, to respond, “And I’m amazed that a council candidate would be so disrespectful to his peers and make allegations towards people he knows nothing about. Perhaps that’s the issue for the news people.”
For those of you who plan on basing your election decision on road signs, I have noticed another candidate who should be getting your attention: Mr. Blowouts, Sprinkler Blowouts. He even puts his phone number right on his sign.
Speaking of Szplett, I had the hardest time getting a hold of him for our candidate essays. He wouldn’t answer his phone when I called and he wouldn’t return my emails.
Cheryl McCord and Bill Clark, Kuna Farmers Market organizers, had similar problems when they organized Meet the Candidates sessions at the Market. They received responses back from the other nine candidates, all of whom attended, but no response from Dave.
At the insistence of one of our readers, Szplett did finally submit an essay. But here we are again. I’ve asked the candidates to answer a few questions about police services, the LID, etc. Eight responded without any problems. On Oct. 8, I received an email from Szplett’s email account: “The Professor is still elk hunting. Elk season runs through Oct 12th but deer continues until October 20th. Maybe he’ll be here sooner.”
But then I saw him at El Gallo Giro the very next day. Odd. No elk in sight.
The next day, another email: “I am the Professor’s clerk. It appears that he was in Kuna for a short time yesterday. I have a bunch of notes from him. He reports sending out “some” emails. There were lots of them before he started though. Did he get to yours? I hope that he responded to your needs. If you need anything more, he should be back in town late on the 21st. He has jury duty on the 26th though. He never sits idle.”
Although voting is the most basic and pure expression of democracy, I’ll be glad when the goofy season is over.