By Bradley Harrington
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Adams, “Pocket Patriot: Quotes from American Heroes,” 2005 —
Well, now that we’ve gotten the national stuff out of the way and digested our Thanksgiving meals, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes: The local elections.
And, while no meal ever comes complete with everything appealing to everybody, there’s certainly enough nuggets in this repast to please anyone concerned with the state of their ever-diminishing freedoms:
■ The Quarter-Cent 7 Percent Sales Tax: “By a narrow margin of 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent, Laramie County voters on Tuesday rejected a proposed quarter-cent seventh-penny sales tax … The proposed tax would have gone solely to fund construction of the future Children’s Museum of Cheyenne.” (“Voters narrowly reject tax for Children’s Museum of Cheyenne,” WTE, Nov. 9.)
Now that former mayoral candidate and former Children’s Museum Executive Director Amy Surdam has had her “vision” stripped of its forcefulness, one can only hope that her successors either raise their monies voluntarily — or can the project as untenable. Sorry, Mrs. Surdam, but your “vision” of building this boondoggle on the backs of taxpayers who have better things to do with their money just came to an end. Welcome to the real world.
■ State Senate Races: “Republicans have won all three contested state Senate races in Laramie County … In Senate District 4, Republican Tara Nethercott defeated Rep. Ken Esquibel, a Democrat … Anthony Bouchard, a Republican, defeated Kym Zwonitzer, an independent candidate, in Senate District 6 … Republican Affie Ellis ousted incumbent Senator Floyd Esquibel, a Democrat.” (“Republicans sweep Laramie County state Senate seats,” WTE, Nov. 9.)
Well, one can think what they want about whether or not these new Republicans will actually stick up for Republican principles of governance — my money is on Mr. Bouchard as being the best of the three in that arena — but nothing less than a table jig will suffice for celebrating the defeat of the Esquibel brothers.
Ken Esquibel, for instance, had a nasty habit of telling his opponents that the best thing they could do for an election was to drop out, as he told his Republican opponent Donna Roofe back in 2012.
I even got Mr. Esquibel on tape as saying he did that, when I wrote an election story on that topic for the now-defunct “Liberty’s Torch” newspaper at that time, and I passed along a copy of that tape to Max Maxfield, then-Wyoming Secretary of State.
Nothing ever came of it, however. A clear violation of State Statute 22-26-111, but hey — I’m not an electioneer. I still have that tape if anyone wants a copy of it.
As for Floyd, he had the rude habit of telling the distributors of that newspaper that they should quit carrying it … Or else. The distributor who told me that had no interest in pursuing the matter any further — although he kept his “Liberty’s Torch” stand intact right by his front door.
So, to hear now that the Esquibel thugs are going to have to go out and gainfully employ themselves? Cry me a river.
As for Mrs. Zwonitzer and her game of an “independent” candidacy, along with all the Republican Party shenanigans that went into its making — Sorry about your bad luck. Maybe next time you’ll follow the path of principles … If you have any.
■ State House Races: “Laramie County voters in Wyoming House of Representatives District 11 ousted House Minority Leader Mary Throne in Tuesday’s election [against Republican Jared Olsen] … Republican Lars Lone won the House District 12 seat with 1,756 votes [against Democrat Lee Filer] …” (“Two of three Laramie County Democratic state House seats go Republican,” WTE, Nov. 9.)
I’m not sure, however, given Mr. Olsen’s role in the recent Laramie County GOP “petition” controversy, that we can expect any more out of him than we got from her as far as governing principles are concerned — but one can always hold out hope.
As for Mr. Lone, he’s a good man with good ideas — keep your eye on him.
■ Cheyenne City Council: By far, however, the greatest news of all the local election results, was to see that Mr. Pete Laybourn regained his Ward 1 seat on the Cheyenne City Council.
Now, keep in mind that Mr. Laybourn has described his political views to me as those of a “progressive Democrat.” Heck, who cares about all of that? Are you kidding?
No, all that pales at the thought of Cheyenne’s Governing Body once again getting ready for those midnight meetings — you know, the ones where Mr. Laybourn questions every penny of every expenditure presented to the body that evening?
Shucks, given the make-up of our current City Council, those are just the kinds of questions we now need to be asking.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the “Wyoming Tribune Eagle” on December 2, 2016. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.