Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts on the Steve Menard Recall in Wasilla

CPG Event backdrop - 2009
On Tuesday, 7.9 percent of Wasilla voters showed up at the polls to recall City Councilman Steve Menard, by a vote of 216 to 92.  There are still uncounted votes, but the total received of 402 makes it impossible for Menard to retain his seat:

Menard will officially leave the city council on Monday, when the council convenes to approve the election results.

A two-time city councilman, Menard came under political fire for his behavoir while attending an Alaska Municipal League event in Sitka that left a hotel room damaged, including urine on two beds, a burned mattress and vomit on the floor. The city had to pick up a $350 cleaning tab before the councilman was allowed to check out. He repaid that charge and reimbursed the city for the entire cost of his trip, more than $1,400.
Menard, who was widely regarded as the most conservative member of the political part of the Mat-Su Valley Menard clan, wasn't hounded from office by liberals, or even moderates.  He was the subject of a recall drive spurred by the Tea Party-affiliated Conservative Patriots Group.  Since early 2009, the group has been active in promoting Tea Party events.  Its most recent big-time happening was a 9/11 Remembrance Day, which their website states was attended by 800 to 1,000 people.  Before that, their biggest 2011 event was an attempt to reprise their 2010 Tax Day Tea Party happening.  It wasn't very well attended, even though it was scheduled on a not-very-busy Monday - April 18th.

Although their web site claims they were responsible for the 2009 April 15th Tea Party gathering at Newcombe Park, a video by their director, Jennie Bettine seems to contradict that, claiming a later birth for the group - the summer of 2009.

On September 11th, 2010, their event drew only about 300 people, even though a celebrity local former mayor and seeming presidential candidate was the guest of honor. She gave what may have been one of her very worst speeches of all time:

A speech in the Menard Sports Center, by an ex-GF of Curt Menard, Jr, for whom the complex was named posthumously, hosted by a group that later spurred the only successful recall in Wasilla history - against the brother of Curt, Jr.

No wonder Linda Menard wants out, eh?

CPG Event attendees - 2009
Wasilla is indeed a very small town.  I live outside the city limits, so I don't vote in their municipal elections.  It is interesting that the recall of Steve Menard, which was always viewed as a slam dunk, couldn't have been engineered by a group more progressive than the anti-liberal CPG.  The reality is, though, that Wasilla has become so far, far, far right, that there is no such entity there anymore.

The Mat-Su Valley as a whole, is less far, far, far right, but not by much.  Cordova, a fairly small town, boasts a number of progressive groups and environmental organizations.  The Valley, with 40 times as many residents as the fishing town - just one, the Friends of Mat-Su.

Even though Sarah Palin, in her eclipse, brought a lot of national scrutiny to how nutzo it is out here, the spotlight on her dishonesty and sleaziness did nothing to slow the continuing momentum of political machinery here to go further and further off onto the edge of the far right zealotry and Christianist-dominated political processes she had been one of the harbingers of 15 years or so ago.

It is good to see Steve Menard go.  I hope he somehow redeems himself, at least for his mom's sake.  Unfortunately, his replacement will probably be even more weird than he is.


Anonymous said...

"I so want to win this thing. I so don't want to go back to Alaska."

Sarah Palin says...

George said...

Take a breath. U R letting the anti group get to ya. Forgetaboutit, think positive thoughts and let them fear the future.