44th Council Endorsement: Why I Abstained

This might become an annual kind of posting - explaining why I voted a certain way in a given endorsement!

So, it looks like I ruffled a few feathers with my vote on who to endorse in the 44th Council Special Election.

Let’s recap briefly. For those who don’t know, there is a special City Council election to fill the 44th District seat held by Simcha Felder. There are two Republicans running – Jonathan Judge and Ken Rice. On Wednesday, the Executive Committee met to determine who to endorse in this non-partisan Special Election. End of brief recap.

Before the meeting, the Law Committee members in attendance met with the Chairman to discuss procedures, voting and rules. The Law Committee recommendation was (1) that the Rules of the KCRP did not apply to non-partisan special elections and (2) therefore, a simple majority of the Executive Committee meeting called for such an endorsement would be sufficient. At the meeting, the Law Committee report was adopted and enacted.

When the vote came down, there were 33 votes for Rice, 3 for Judge and 3 abstentions. I was one of those who abstained.

“Why?” you ask? Glad to tell you.

My thought process was this - as one of the members who set up the ground rules for the vote itself before the meeting was convened, I felt that by voting for either candidate, I would put the integrity of the vote into question. Had I voted my preference, the losing camp would have been able to argue that I helped set up an uneven playing field, and a debate over whether the vote was tainted would go on and on beyond the meeting - much as it did after County Committee this past year when the losing camp argued that a computer “glitch” in tabulation was a sign of impropriety.

So, as my way to protect the integrity of the endorsement, I stayed out of the substantive vote.

I’ve since heard that some people - even some I consider friends - may have a problem with the way I voted. To all, I say two things:

First: Say it to my face.

Second: If you don’t like it – tough.

I take my position on the Law Committee seriously, and my vote took more than who I like into consideration – it took the integrity of what we were trying to do into consideration.

Now, to those same people – and everyone else for that matter - if you ask me who I would’ve voted for had I not taken part in creating the voting structure, I would have said that based on both candidates presentations, I would’ve voted for Ken Rice.

I thought he handled matters coolly, professionally, and his genuine personality shone through. Polish will come with time and experience, but I thought that he has what it takes.

Jonathan Judge was much the opposite – and, as frequent readers know, I’m not a Jonathan Judge basher. At times during the meeting, Jonathan was condescending to adversaries to the point of confrontation, which didn’t sit well with me. In my opinion, part of the makeup of a good City Councilman is to be even-handed, calm, cool, and collected – even in the face of challenge, adversity and bad feeling. On that night, Jonathan appeared to be none of those.

A second reason – how often has the Republican Party been accused of backing the “same old” crew of people? Ken Rice is brand new – a fresh face who reached out to the party (and to his Republican opponent) and expressed desire to get involved and to run. That says a lot about Ken Rice, and our support sends a message that the day of the “same old” crew is over, and that we are embracing a “big tent” mentality in the spirit of growing the party.

If anyone wants to know more, all you have to do is ask. I look forward to comments.


Russell Gallo said...

Hey Gene,

Honest and upfront as usual. Full disclosure- I was one of those that questioned your abstention and I did do it to your face. I respect you and your stance. Keep up the good work.

Your friend,


Gene Berardelli said...

Coming from the straightest of shooters, I was glad you did, pal.

Stay safe. We'll see you soon.