Originally Posted Online: Dec. 05, 2012, 11:37 am
Last Updated: Dec. 05, 2012, 11:34 pm
Editorial: Doing politics right, wrong
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
If you can stand it, here's one more election-related story. Before you turn away in disgust, instead of more of the same old political angst, this tale offers an example of how our leaders are supposed to behave.
Just one week after the Nov. 6 election, the race for Henry County Board District 2 was turned upside down. On Election Day, Thomas Wiley, the Democrat from Cambridge, went to bed believing he had beaten incumbent Kippy Nelson, R-Cambridge, by just five votes.
But after the official count was taken, Ms. Nelson was declared the winner over Mr. Wiley by a single vote. The tally was 4,043 for Ms. Nelson and 4,042 for Mr. Wiley. There was more than a single seat at stake here. Ms. Nelson's election gave Republicans an 11-9 edge. Had Mr. Wiley's victory stood, the split would have been 10-10.
A recipe for political disaster, you might think? Just the opposite.
After the recount, Ms. Nelson told reporter Lisa Hammer Mr. Wiley was very gracious. "I feel for Tom," she added. "Tom ran before and, what can you say, I was thinking that I was going to be the loser. It's very disheartening. I knew how he must feel."
Mr. Wiley and his party could have called for a recount, gotten attorneys involved and let a judge decide the election, dragging out the process. Instead, they let the Friday deadline for filing for a recount pass. The results stand and the new board has gotten on with business.
"I appreciate that they are not going for a recount," Ms. Nelson told Ms. Hammer. "It's nice to be able to put this to rest and move forward with the business at hand. I still feel really bad for Tom," she said, adding she appreciates his decision. "It says a lot about him as a person."
It does, indeed, and we join in saluting him.
There's a lesson here on how to do things right in a political word where doing it wrong is too often the norm.
Doing it wrong
Elsewhere in Henry County this week, for example, citizens witnessed another incident of some Cleveland village leaders behaving badly.
Colona police were called Monday to a political caucus for this village of some 250 people along the Rock River. We suppose the intervention by law enforcement shouldn't be all that surprising in a village where authorities once called on the cops to keep order while they argued over an Eagle Scout project. Yes, you read that right, an Eagle Scout project.
Everything from the boat ramp parking lot resurfacing by the scout to nameplates for meeting nights has set these folks off.
On Monday, caucus participants apparently struggled over state election papers while arguing about who was or wasn't eligible to attend the meeting.
Police took no action Monday, but the dustup led to the caucus being canceled. However this shakes out, the 70 or so families in the village lost, again.