County Supervisors for all 19 districts in the County are elected every two years. All 19 seats are on the ballot in the upcoming Spring election on April 3rd. Of the 19 seats, competitions have developed for 15 of them, with 4 running unopposed. The unopposed incumbent Supervisors are: Andy Brinkman – District 14, Paulette Anderson – District 16, Judy Achterhof – District 17, and Shaela Leibfried – District 18.
The remaining incumbent Supervisors will all need to present their cases to voters in order to remain in office. The challengers will have to also present their cases to voters, and prove why they should be elected. Voter turnout for the Spring election is typically very low, so just a few votes one way or another can make a big difference.
Apparently, at least some of the incumbent Supervisors fear the competition to the point where they feel it necessary to follow the lead of the highly polarized national partisan model by openly spreading falsehoods and misleading information about the candidates running against them.
A prime example of this can be seen in the “St. Croix County Board Good Government” Facebook page established by incumbent Supervisor Dan Hansen. It appears that the original intent of the page was to disseminate information about the positive impacts that the current County Board is having, and to offer supporting viewpoints and related discussion on the topics. The “About” description of the page indicates it is for “Supporting the good things our St. Croix County Board has done for us. Recognizing fiscally responsible, transparent leadership at the county level.”
Fairly quickly after its launch, however, it became clear that the actual goal is to propagate purposefully one-sided propaganda using the name of the St. Croix County Board, and to stifle any viewpoints or comments that run counter to that of its author, who is a self-described, far left “progressive” socialist. Numerous comments and discussions on posts to the page have been systematically removed if they are not in line with the page author.
The recent postings made by the publisher to this page demonstrate the true level of fear that the block of incumbent Supervisors represented by the page have for open and honest competition from challengers in the upcoming election. Rather than relying on facts and open dialog, posts published are seeking to portray all opposing candidates as evil, and under the influences of sinister “dark money”. These tactics are typical for hard leftists, who don’t seem to be able to use objective facts and logic to make arguments, relying instead on false broad generalizations, misleading statements, and straight out false “facts”.
In a recent set of posts, opposing candidates are effectively labelled as “Atheist narcissists who proudly celebrate unbridled selfishness; “, claiming that they all idolize Russian author Ayn Rand. Apparently no leftist assertion is complete without some form of Russian connection. (See the full post here)
Additionally, another post that includes a photo taken through the storefront window of the print shop where some candidates are having signs printed claims that such signs cost $140 each, and makes the assertion that “Big money is trying to buy another round of local elections”, and that “dark money special interests” are behind the “money that goes into the fancy expensive signs”. The assertion is that opposing candidates are spending exorbitant sums of money on their campaigns obtained from “special interests” to whom candidates are then beholden.
A bit of research shows that all candidates have appropriately filed under “exempt” status for filing campaign finance reports with the Election Commission, including the page author. This means that the maximum amounts for ALL candidates in the election is $2000.00 per year, both raised in donations, and spent on campaigning. The maximum any single donation can be is limited to $500.00. If candidates violate these rules, they should rightfully be prosecuted. The rules apply to everyone, incumbent and challenger alike. These filings are publicly available from the County Clerk.
Research also shows that true cost for the 2 color signs pictured in the post is between $6 – $10 each when aggregated together in press runs. Lawn signs are a standard part of just about all election campaign activity for anyone running for any public office.
It is a somewhat sad commentary that the block of incumbent Supervisors represented by Dan’s “St. Croix County Board Good Government” publication feel the need to resort to such false tactics in order to try and gain support for their cause. This goes a long way to demonstrating that there is not enough confidence in the actual message they have for voters, so are forced to rely on name calling and false narratives to indoctrinate readers.
EDIT March 04, 2018: This post was apparently removed from the “St. Croix County Good Government” page following publication of this article, but you can read the full post here
The challenging candidates should be flattered that the incumbents represented by Dan’s page are so intimidated and afraid of their competition that they feel the need to resort to such tactics. This author prefers to win a competition through “Gracious Professionalism”, a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.
Opposing viewpoints will never be censored from the St. Croix Boardwatch blog page as is commonplace with the “St. Croix County Board Good Government” publication.
Represented are two completely different approaches to writing about the County Board. Readers are encouraged to review both, and decide for themselves which has merit, and which doesn’t. Voters can then make more informed choices at the ballot box on April 03, and choose who they want to represent them on the County Board.