I'm a big fan of House of Cards, the Netflix series that features devious political machinations in Washington, D.C.
Sometimes, though, the sneakiest thing to do in politics is be absolutely open and upfront. That's so unusual these days, nobody will believe what you're saying! He must have a secret agenda...
Well, believe it or not, here's my not-so-secret plan to sway Salem's May election for Mayor and four City Council positions.
People power. Especially, social media people power.
I designed a Salem, Let's Blast Off to a Fresh Start ad for Carole Smith, my choice for Mayor, that ran in today's Statesman Journal. In the ad I was pleased to incorporate the rocket ship part of the new Strange Up Salem logo that was designed recently.
Let's make Salem, Oregon out of the ordinary. Creative. Fun. Diverse. Vibrant. Artistic. In short...STRANGER!
Politically, Salem is in a stale rut. In one long sentence, here's what this town needs to get away from:
The Chamber of Commerce grooms right-wing people to run for local public office by getting them onto City of Salem committees and urging them to get involved with neighborhood associations, then these people run for office and, not surprisingly, get endorsed by the Chamber's Board of Directors, after which the Chamber's Political Action Committee supports them with lavish (for Salem) amounts of money, and this -- combined with the usual editorial page endorsement from the Chamber-friendly Statesman Journal newspaper, along with low voter turnout in May primary elections where local races usually are decided, allows the conservative Chamber candidates for Mayor and City Council to be elected in a liberal-leaning city.
This isn't good for Salem.
We need fresh ideas.
We have to get out of a 1950's-era Chamber of Commerce mentality.
Sprawl. Worship the auto. Let charity take care of people in need.
I put up a Fresh Start Salem web page that advocates voting for candidates in the May election who have a different vision for this town.
People power can elect a new Mayor and three city councilors in the May 17, 2016 election who are committed to a fresh start for Salem. We all know how much untapped potential lies dormant in this town, ready to blossom when City leaders involve people, listen to people, say YES! to people with great ideas.
But here in Salem, currently we've got a Mayor and City Council majority who are enthralled by Dumb Growth and Old Urbanism. This has to change, or other cities are going to whip our economic and livability ass.
So how is Salem going to break out of the Chamber of Commerce-controlled political system I described in my Long Sentence?
People Power. Which should be way more potent than Money Power, since people vote and money doesn't.
A political revolution is needed here in Salem. Completely peaceful, of course.
The lessons learned in Tunisia apply, though, where people using social media like Facebook fueled the flames of a much-needed political changeover.
So I'm hoping Salem's citizens will take up the Let's Blast Off to a Fresh Start message and spread it widely. I've started to do this via some Facebook posts I put up today. More will follow.
If lots of people help share this simple Blast Off to a Fresh Start message -- vote for Carole Smith, Cara Kaser, Matt Ausec, and Sally Cook in the May election -- there's a good chance Salem will elect four people with fresh creative ideas a month from now, May 17.