Friday, October 16, 2009

The Katan saga

So far the Courier's coverage of the current flap over Paul Katan's ballot status seems pretty straightforward, better then it has been on occasion. The comments are fascinating, in that so many people can blame him for filing suit and "costing the taxpayers money" after the judge has agreed that yes, the City screwed up and really is legally out of bounds.

Should Paul have done the big-man thing and quietly retired from contention when the City told him to sit down and shut up? I expect that argument only flies with those who would have liked him to sit down, shut up and not run again. And perhaps Paul learned a thing or two from Bush v. Gore a few years ago.

I've known Paul since he started getting involved politically years ago at Access13. In those days he similarly refused to shut up and sit down, it caused friction with the established order and got him chucked out of the room a couple of times. But he usually had a point, and the establishment learned that chucking him out did no good. We also learned that he is honest and conscientious, and while he keeps an eye on his ideals, he also knows how to express them in practical terms and work to build useful consensus.

I know directly that this lawsuit is not the path Paul would have chosen, rather that he feels bound by principle and loyalty to the people supporting his campaign. The City can't be allowed to get away with scotching his bid for office out of hand, no matter what his real chances are of winning. Our system of law is not based on who's the strongest. It's about a fair shake for everyone, and I applaud Paul for taking that stand.


lora said...

As a current, and entirely embarrassed, City of Prescott Council member, I felt the need to speak up about our election issues. First, I was never informed of the appeal. I want the citizens of Prescott to know that there are decisions being made that are not run by this Council as a whole. All of this "election mess" could have been prevented months ago. Second, during 3 different Council meetings I have requested that the City Manager put together a Charter Committee to start reviewing our Charter and cleaning up the language that is ambiguous. That still has not been done. We have had a series of election mishaps this year, all due to the Charter language. This last issue is not about Katan, but following our Charter direction. Katan was ok with being a write-in on the ballot, and it was understood that a notice would be placed in the ballot envelope since the requirement is to notice the voter at the polling place and the polling place in a mail-only election is in the voter's home. As far as I have been informed that was the direction to the County, but apparently the County chose not to do that, I have never fully been told what happened. The City of Prescott should have made sure this would be a fair and Charter abiding election by placing the notice of a write-in candidate in the ballot and then the current lawsuit would have never happened. I want the public to know that this is my opinion only, I am not speaking for any City staff or other Councilmembers. I do want the public to know that the Council is often under-informed (or some times not informed at all) on major issues that we, as the elected leaders of this community, should be involved in as an entire Council. My understanding is that the decision to go forward with the appeal process was made by the Mayor, City Attorney and City Manager and I was informed of this via emails AFTER 5pm yesterday.

Steven Ayres said...

Lora, I much appreciate your sharing this here, but I also hope that you've submitted this to the Courier and other outlets, it deserves wider distribution. The voters need more of this sort of open, clear communication about what's going on at City Hall.