September 22, 2014

Council appointee couldn’t be bothered to vote

Danedri Thompson
columnist
It’s high time the Gardner City Council make changes to the way it appoints to the council.
We’re down another one, with the departure of appointed member Brian Broxterman, and the community’s new appointee to the city council appears to have only voted three times in his adult life – or at least in the years he’s lived in Kansas.
Mayor Dave Drovetta appointed James Randall “Randy” Gregorcyk, Jr. to the council last night. The Gardner man has cast ballots in two presidential elections – in 2004 and in 2008 and recently cast a mail-in ballot for the school bond election.
When council member Larry Fotovich asked him why his voting record was so paltry, Gregorcyk essentially said he was busy traveling and adopting a baby.
Not good enough. Appointed officials should be held to an even higher standard than those who stand for election.
You know who else is busy at election time? Almost every person in America.
Voting is not difficult. On Election Day, there are dozens of polling places typically within walking distance of most of Gardner, and advance and absentee voting is easier than it’s ever been.
I’m not asking potential council appointees to be involved in volunteering for community events like the Festival on the Trails. Of course, that’d be nice, or attending city council or school board meetings or better yet, walking door-to-door for candidates for other offices getting to know their neighbors and the feel of the community. But voting is the simplest form of civic engagement.
Even when it’s challenging, voting absentee is a fairly simple process. I know. I don’t think I’ve missed an election since I came of age more than a dozen years ago.
When I was in college in Manhattan, Kan., that meant driving two hours each way to vote. I had the option of getting an absentee ballot, but that was back when voting was wildly exciting. I wanted to feel the lever in my hand and wait in line with my friends and neighbors.
When I was a flight attendant, or traveling a lot, I purchased an airplane ticket home so I could cast a ballot at one point. As an airline employee, I had the option of flying standby – catching a ride on a Kansas City-bound plane with an empty seat, but purchasing a ticket was the only way I could ensure I would make it home in time to pull the lever.
Sometimes, civic engagement requires sacrifice. Just ask our members of the military, who are often busy and traveling at election time.
They aren’t given a ballot by virtue of being in service to the country. Just like everyone else, they have to register and apply for an absentee ballot.
In fact, military ballots are of great concern in Kansas’ upcoming election. With reapportionment still being considered by district court judges, political boundaries may not be set in time to get ballots into the hands of our men and women overseas. Officials are planning to move heaven and earth to make sure they get their ballots. It’s that important.
Gregorcyk compared his own lack of entering the voting booth to Fotovich constantly voting “no” to city staff and Mayoral suggestions. The two aren’t the same thing in any way shape or form, and it’s a comparison that never should’ve been allowed to stand unopposed in the public square.
Somehow, I doubt our service men and women are willing to lay down their lives so individuals can agree with bureaucrats and leadership. Dissent is an important part of our republic – just like voting.
There’s plenty of egg on the faces of officials in this latest appointment. First, this is the second appointee to the council with a very thin voting history. Appearances are often reality to the rarely engaged, and it appears that having council members who care enough to go to the polls isn’t a priority. The Mayor should make it a point to request the voting records of the candidates he’s considering – not how they voted, but whether they did.
There were dozens of candidates available for the position, at least one of whom never misses a council meeting, serves on an appointed board, serves on various community service projects, and was on the last ballot for the job. That would’ve been a better, less elitist choice for the council seat.
Those who only take interest in civic life with the promise of a political title should be questioned. At the end of that road are elites who believe they aren’t required to do  common man’s work, like voting. They appear to want to be moved to the head of the class. It’s gross.
The other council members who so cavalierly accepted an appointee with such a thin voting resume are also deserving of disdain. Yes, there is a state statute that says if the council rejects a Mayoral appointment, they must pass a resolution saying why the person was unworthy of service. I can’t think of a better reason than never voting.
Finally, county commissioner David Lindstrom attended the meeting in support of Gregorcyk. I’m going to give Lindstrom the benefit of the doubt and assume he had no idea he was throwing his support to a person who can’t be bothered with the plebian task of voting. But what an embarrassment for him.
And what a shame for the rest of us. No matter Gregorcyk’s politics, Gardner deserves better.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I wouldn’t give Lindstrom the benefit of a damn thing because he is a politician through and through. Cronyism government continues to thrive here in Gardner and beyond. The stench at City Hall just gets a little stronger with each passing day………….throw in with what goes on at your local school district and County and you have a mighty fine mess on your hands………..I know this latest jaybird has probably already received his rubber stamp and told how to use it…..

  2. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Eighty words expended on Councilman Gregorcyk’s reasonably common voting record; 141 words celebrating the author’s admirable voting habits as a college student and flight attendant.

    Sure, we all wish every eligible voter would cast a ballot in every election. According to figures on the Johnson County Election Office website, Gregorcyk’s voting record could represent a better than average participation rate than the vast majority of the JoCo electorate. The question by Councilman Fotovich and the focus of this opinion piece failed to address the record of the other 369,223 registered voters in this county.

    Johnson County Spring General Elections – Voter Turnout
    2000 9.0%
    2001 13.3%
    2002 8.1%
    2003 11.6%
    2004 17.7%
    2005 29.7%
    2006 11.8%
    2007 11.8%
    2008 10.2%
    2009 9.38%
    2010 8.65%
    2011 9.76%
    2012 11.02%

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    COMMON is the key word here………………..not exceptional, not representative, not fair, equitable or reasonable, not better than average but COMMON to what has been coming out of City Hall and our society for years and citizens pay through the nose for it……good ole apathy of the people and COMMON lousy government due to loss of strong moral values are biting all in their rearends every day of the year………..

  4. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    COMMON (adj.): 1. belonging equally to, or shared by, every one or all in a group. 2. belonging or relating to the community at large; public. 3. widely existing; general; prevalent. 4. not of the upper classes; of the masses; not of the elite. 5. equal with, or shared by, another or all concerned.
    (from Websters New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition)

  5. George A Rifford IV says:

    I’m not sure if this is a news piece or an editorial, but in either case I disagree with the writer’s assessment.

    Voting is not only a right, but it is also a choice. It appears to me that this writer is making an assumption that Mr. Gregorcyk was either too lazy or inept to take the time to vote. I believe that it is entirely possible that Mr. Gregorcyk just didn’t feel like voting for the issues at hand. If this is the case, than this is his right as an American citizen to choose not to cast a ballot. I’m wondering if this writer is making an assumption that Mr. Gregorcyk will choose not to vote during council session because he chose at times not to vote over the last decade? If so, that assumption is ludicrous.

    Furthermore, if the council (or community) has a concern about how Mr. Gregorcyk would have voted in a past election, ask him. I believe that this is a much better way to find out who a candidate CURRENTLY is.

    Regarding candidate morality, I believe that is would be difficult to prove that an impeccable voting record translates to high moral standards and ethical values in any elected or appointed official (e.g. – Bill Clinton).

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    I consider voting a citizen responsibility and that responsibility should never be considered COMMON or something you do or not do depending on what others are doing or not doing. Going along to get along just doesn’t cut it with me. I was taught long ago that you do not do something just because “everybody” is doing it or it is a COMMON practice. So many are ready to drink the propaganda koolaid or not meet their responsibilities just so they can “fit” in or meet the criteria of what is COMMON. COMMON whores continue to be with us and political whores come to my mind immediately.

    The Dictator’s appointees never have to meet any litmus test with the people or advise where they stand on issues – they just need to know how and when to use the rubber stamp they are provided with.

  7. Mr. Rifford: There are those of us who were taught voting is a DUTY, and for those of us who have had family in the military, that is even more true. To consistently not vote is a slap in the face to those of us who have had someone die or be injured while fighting for our freedom. To choose not to vote when I have had family injured overseas is a personal affront to me. I don’t know the new council appointee, personally I hope he steps up and takes this appointment to represent people seriously – and I certainly hope he has learned his lesson and finds time to vote and be informed. I believe Mr. Kellogg’s statistics indicate how apathetic people are these days.

  8. nonamers says:

    Hmm…Larry Fotovich asks a question and it magically becomes the focus of an editorial (or was that supposed to be “news”?) by Danedri Thompson. It’s almost like they were working together to create controversy and to find new things to complain about.

    I’ll agree with Senior that voting should be considered a duty, and with Mr. Kellogg that voter turnout is shockingly low. I’ll even concede that Mr. Gregorcyk should probably have a better voting record.

    But is this the best Ms. Thompson can come up with in her in-depth analysis of Gregorcyk? That she doesn’t like his excuses for not voting as much as she thinks he could? Really? Coming from Ms. Thompson, that’s almost like effusive praise for the new Council appointee.

    Then again, she also complains about another appointee on the Council. Maybe she’s forgetting that Gregorcyk isn’t starting a new term, but will serve the remainder of Broxterman’s term. Who was, in turn serving the remainder of the term of another Council member. The net number of appointees isn’t changing, nor, as I understand it, the length of time any of the appointees is serving. So why is Ms. Thompson sooooo interested in rehashing the whole “appointees” issue?

    Sure it’s a pain that the Council is faced with yet another one of its members walking off the job, forcing yet another appointee. Then again, we wouldn’t have to worry about Broxterman being appointed at all if that former Council member hadn’t ALSO walked off the job. Who was that again?

    Was it really Danedri’s dad, Dan Thompson, who turned his back on Gardner and, as it has turned out, the opportunity to serve his, and Mr. Fotovich’s, agendas for the city? Maybe Danedri ought to be careful about throwing “first stones” at the need for having to have another appointee on the Council or about the responsibilities she thinks Gardner Council members ought to represent.

  9. George A Rifford IV says:

    Senior: you are certainly entitled to your opinion; as am I. I will be the first to admit that i did not serve in the military, and i apologize if I offended you. However, it has always been my understanding that our military fights for our freedom, and that includes the freedom to choose (free will), does it not?

    BTW…I personally have voted in approximately 85% of the last 11 years of general and primary elections in the state of KS.

  10. Mr. Rifford I appreciate your polite and thoughtful response. Thank you for taking your duty to vote seriously so our sons did not fight in vain.

  11. nonamers says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it, George. The whole article is a red herring argument, made by Ms. Thompson to undermine our Mayor (and by proxy, the rest of the Council) by undermining one of his appointees. Thompson, and apparently Councilman Fotovich, seem to be incapable of finding any real points of discussion about Mr. Gregorcyk’s worthiness as a Council member, so instead, they have to attack him personally to redirect the narrative. After all, if we’re arguing about who voted when, we can make Gregorcyk seem unpatriotic and, by default, our Mayor for appointing him.

    The discussion about voting is interesting, but meaningless in this case. It’s just another example of the old axes that Thompson and Fotovich want to grind against our Mayor (and city), using made-up controversy as a distraction.

  12. Judith Rogers says:

    Let me make it crystal clear that the Dictator is not my Mayor……………..and I have nothing but contempt for the culture he and others have brought about at City Hall and how they have nurtured that culture……………

  13. nonamers says:

    So Judith, you’ve decided you doesn’t live in the United States? That the Mayor our city’s voter elected isn’t “your” Mayor? So who IS your Mayor? Larry Fotovich? Danedri Thompson?

    Maybe that’s why you’re so dissatisfied. Is all your talk about Drovetta being the “Dictator” just Freudian slippage on your part: wishful thinking that you could appoint someone like Fotovich to rule over all those voters who don’t see things the way you think they ought to?

    Like it or not, the voters decided who they wanted as their Mayor. Why do you hate the will of the voters so much, Judith?

  14. Judith Rogers says:

    “the voters decided who they wanted as their Mayor”……………when only about 10% of the registered voters are actually voting is what I hate most and, of course, hate mongers such as yourself, Nonamer, who is such a lowlife he can’t even take ownership of his comments. I also hate an electorate who are not informed and educated on issues and having representatives forced upon me who don’t even bother to vote and are very much a part of the cronyism that is so rampant in Gardner, Ks. and beyond………..all of which is doing great harm to our country…………Gardner’s Finest which is not very fine continue to be forced down my throut which will never be to my liking………..and again, the Dictator is not my Mayor but someone forced upon me and I will never take ownership of him and have the integrity to take ownership of that statement, much unlike you, Nonamer……………many a time I have had someone ask me who is my representative or senator or Mayor or whatever and I will truthfully say I don’t have one because the slimy politicians are not working for me but for the special interests which include many thieves………….

  15. nonamers says:

    I take perfect ownership of my comments. I don’t have anyone else type them, unlike Mr. Fotovich, who appears to need Ms. Thompson to present his attacks on the Mayor for him. But that’s a different argument.

    You make my point for me, Judith. Our system of government means that the people who vote get to decide the outcome of elections. You talk of hating the registered voters, hating the number of people who vote, hating the way that the voters who actually choose to vote, hating how informed you believe they are. Do you see the trend, Judith? Do you?

    You talk a LOT about hating prettty much everything about our elections here. The obvious solution you’re NOT saying is that you’d prefer a Dictator…but one who rules the way YOU think he ought to. That way, all those voters that you hate won’t keep electing people you hate into positions of government that you hate.

    Yep. As usual, your own arguments betray you.

  16. Judith Rogers says:

    Typical nonamer rationalization from one of Gardner’s Finest…………

  17. doesnt matter says:

    so does Larry like type this stuff up…send it to you guys….and then Danedri Thompson slaps her name on it?

    Judith…Judith….Judith….dear, why such a Negative Nancy?

    If you are so unhappy with the way things are why not back a Canidate and help with the campaigns?

    Better yet, why not you run for an elected office….Afraid that people will get on public forums and bash your name….wait we already do that.

  18. Judith Rogers says:

    It will be interesting to see what “Randy” brings to the table while working on the new budget………his rubber stamp, I am sure…………..

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