|THIS IS A READ-ONLY ARCHIVE FROM THE SORABJI.COM MESSAGE BOARDS (1995-2016).|
|<!-Post: 7235-!> By Nate on Friday, April 10, 1998 - 12:20 am:|
And then, I deviate. I decide to check out places in Petaluma I hadn't really explored in a while. I took to the West side, drove past city hall, countless victorians I'd love to own, thinking, singing, driving.
Thought. Swing back to city hall. Waltz in to check it out. Information. I decide to see what it takes to run for mayor. She misinterprets my request, starts handing me paperwork for entering the race. I don't have the guts to tell her I just wanted to know what it took, not that I actually wanted to run.
I was a very different person back when I was 20. I wasn't a people person at all. I actually was afraid to talk to people I didn't know. It sounds funny, maybe, but it's true.
So anyway, there I was taking paperwork. Then she said sign here. Then she said I needed to get the paperwork back by some date. So I left.
And I pondered. And I turned in the paperwork. And I ran.
When newspapers started calling our house, my dad said "Son, don't shame the family name." Damn, I thought. So I made up a lie about why I decided to run for mayor. I made up an agenda. I got some angles. I studied the issues, made a platform plank by plank.
I passed out flyers in front of supermarkets. I had people laugh at me. I had other candidates harass me. I had old ladies pat my ass.
I had articles ran in the area papers. I was on the radio. I spoke to large crowds.
I learned to shake hands. I learned to look a person in the eye. I learned how to speak with volume and purpose.
I got 1024 votes. 7%. The psycho housewife got 7.2% with 1068 votes. The fish eyed man came in second with 30-something-percent of the vote, and the incumbent won (and might be losing her mind, my parents' reports are hazy.)
If I went back and ran again, I think I could win. I'm glad I didn't win.
|<!-Post: 7257-!> By Sorabji on Friday, April 10, 1998 - 10:21 am:|
|<!-Post: 7264-!> By Markus on Friday, April 10, 1998 - 01:20 pm:|
I ran for city council, kind of on the same whim, when I was 27. It's a well-off civic-minded suburban Virginia city filled with military retirees (colonel and above), dual income families with 1.8 kids, and active civic associations disapproving of your business and agitating to deny building permits to an expanded Asian grocery store, but not the Congressional Country Club wiping out 384 trees along a sensitive creek. Anyway, the civic-minded monthly city newsletter came out, and had a little box that said that all paperwork to get on the ballot for the council and mayor races was due on February 28. This showed up in the mailbox on February 23rd. I decided to go for it.
At the time, I was sharing a house at the end of a cul de sac with two other bartender friends, the flyin' O'Brien brothers, though by this time I'd moved back into the conventional workforce and was a systems analyst/troubleshooter with a local company. The house was great: we had a huge back yard trailing off into the woods, a permanent volleyball net, a massive grill, and floodlights for the entire backyard. Given the above ingredients, I needn't mention that the cops were constantly showing up at our parties at about 3 AM, or that we didn't really blend into the neighborhood demographics.
I had worked for Congress shortly before this, and in fact was still on the House payroll part time; I would eventually go back and spend four years in that cesspool. So I knew quite a bit about politics and campaigns; the problem was, for this race, one normally started in September sucking up to all the local power barons of the various power bases, from the city party organization to the civic association presidents to the influential merchants. It also didn't hurt to have been born and raised there your entire life, and have had Mrs. Entwhistle for third grade social studies class and been babysat by Miss Tomkins.
In five days, I had to get 128 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot. The problem was I only had my lunch hours and one weekend to do it. When I turned in over 200, they disqualified all but 131. I ended up participating in three debates, putting up yards signs, doing a targeted mailing, doing interviews and writing issues profiles for the local rags (including the Washington Post), and walking door to door doing the meet and greet thing, kissing backs and slapping babies, as we say in the business. The "Markus for Council Committee" was just me, I bankrolled most of the race, and my official campaign photos were taken by my girlfriend in front of the garage.
I did manage to singlehandedly make a local petroleum tank farm inside the city limits an issue in the campaign (credible, since I was a local volunteer firefighter), and raised the profile of the transportation issue as well. It was very weird to have various civic groups endorsing me, but the strangest was having hardworking people hand over money to me ($100 from one person). After each debate, I went out to dinner with the mayor and most popular council member, so at least I got two free meals out of it.
I was fortunate to lose by about 400 votes (all six incumbents won reelection). I had always been in the smokefilled backrooms of politics from the local to national levels, and it was still a shock in many ways to become the candidate. I found myself instantly change from a misanthropic loner to sucking up to strangers, instinctually smiling, waving, and saying "Good morning" to people I didn't know. It was creepy.
And yeah, I've still got some yard signs and brochures.
|<!-Post: 7369-!> By Nate on Sunday, April 12, 1998 - 12:46 pm:|
He totally funded the physical propaganda, which consisted of the flyers ($80) and my six campaign signs (posterboard, $6, and spraypaint, stolen from a construction yard.) All but one of my signs got taken down, mostly because they were stapled onto the signs of other people (because I had no sticks, nor anyone who wanted to put my spray painted sign on their lawn.) The one that stuck around was stapled to a large stump. Then it rained, and the poster board melted.
After the election I figured out the "votes per dollar spent" for each candidate, and found that I came in first by a hell of a lot. If only I had been bankrolled. The psycho lady who came in just above me spent about $1500 for her 1068 votes, the fish eyed man spent about $7500, and the incumbent spent about $20000.
Although I was endorsed by the local Gay and Lesbian organization and a gun club, I never received a cent of donated money. Excepting the $86 from my campaign manager, who was gambling on being able to sleep over at the "mayoral house".
|<!-Post: 7413-!> By PetRock on Sunday, April 12, 1998 - 10:16 pm:|
|<!-Post: 7437-!> By Nate on Monday, April 13, 1998 - 11:35 am:|
I can't imagine what the two organizations thought when they saw with whom they endorsed me.
|<!-Post: 7466-!> By Markus on Tuesday, April 14, 1998 - 01:19 pm:|
I also kicked ass in the vote/$ analysis, despite the fact that I had professionally printed signs that were widely acknowleged to be the best lookin' signs in the campaign. (Stole the sticks, though.) One of these lovely limited edition signs can be won by the person who best answers this question: If you were to have lunch with me as a candidate, what personal request would we discuss, and what are you buying me with to get me in your pocket on this issue of such importance to the public good?
The judge's decision is final. Void where taxed or prohibited. Contents may have settled during transport. Your mileage may vary. Please put all seats and tray tables in their full, upright position. Contest ends just before I get fired for spending too much time on the Net, thereby losing my connection to this site.
|<!-Post: 7624-!> By Eddie Murphy on Friday, April 17, 1998 - 11:51 am:|
for the TLC show "Help Wanted" The show
will air once a week and every week 5 people
will be competing for their dream job. I am
looking for people who want to become Mayor
for a day of a major City. All expenses paid. If
interested please call me direct at
212-627-6053 X.443....Look forward to hearing
ps. This could lead into a job at the Mayor's