or email me:
Don't forget! The election is Tuesday, November 8th, 2011.
Update: The campaign is going very well. We are now going into a final pay-as-you-go ad & radio push. Contributions will be applied as they come in. Thank you for your support!
I appreciate your interest in my campaign.
Sandpoint is at a crossroads. The world has changed and we can't simply keep doing what we've always done.
This is not a popularity contest, it is entirely about ability. Of the three candidates, I have the broadest, deepest, most extensive experience, and a proven track record of effectiveness, innovation and understanding.
What Sandpoint needs in a Mayor is a real Chief Executive Officer - a full-time CEO with the extensive experience, vision and strength to make the tough decisions.
I intend to ensure that Sandpoint gets through to the other side of these financial hardships in fine shape, so we can all thrive here, strengthening our children, hosting our tourists, and supporting our local industries, businesses and artists.
History & Qualifications:
Why I'm running for Mayor of Sandpoint
Since adopting Sandpoint as my new home town, I've been talking with people. And listening. Since filing for Mayor, the listening has become foremost, and I've gotten both ears filled! As everywhere, people are concerned about the economy and frustrated with government, and far too many do not feel heard. Despite the best efforts of many in local government to seek balanced input, this remains true. That sense of alienation and exclusion, on both sides of the political spectrum, must be among our highest priorities if we are to pull together against the coming tough times.
This race presents the voters with three candidates. All three love Sandpoint, possibly for the same reasons. All three are of good intent and charitable background. And all three have business experience. So how does the voter choose from among them? Mere friendship? Past collaborations? Gut feelings? Perhaps the overriding considerations should be, Perspective, and Skill.
Each of my opponents has been successful in their chosen fields. And both have many friends and are admired for the good works they do. Each has a big part of the required perspective, but neither appears to have the whole. One is committed only to the already-gone Sandpoint of traditional Americana, while the other's orientation has been the second half of the city's still-unrealized redevelopment efforts.
Does either have the depth and breadth of experience, and strategic adaptability, necessary to successfully define and carry Sandpoint through uncertain times? I'm hearing, No. They appear to carry nearly opposing views of what was, what is, and what must be. It's probably fair to say that they represent the philosophical split that has hobbled Sandpoint for decades.
We need a Chief Executive who operates from the big picture. Outside the box. We need a creative and accommodating strategy rather than foregone conclusions; innovation rather than habit; balance rather than exclusion; communication rather than polarization.
As a 30-year counselor, I've spent countless hours listening to people's pain and aspirations, and helping them deal with the one while pursuing the other. As a successful businessman in two industries, home building and casino management, I have solid understandings of structural and financial management. In more than twenty years as a management consultant to every industry and all sizes of businesses, I have absorbed an encyclopedia of experience and wisdom not available any other way. And in my own personal and professional development work I have always scored high and performed well.
It's a shame that in running for office, one must get out and beat one's drum, so to speak. I don't mind discussing what I have done and can do, but this is not about me. It's about Sandpoint and how I can help.
As your Mayor, I will bring to bear every talent and skill I have, all of my experience and understanding, to manage Sandpoint through the next four years. I intend to retain the best Sandpoint has ever been and to encourage the most it can yet be--whatever future awaits us. I will listen more than talk, and seriously consider every input. I will maintain essential services no matter how creative an effort that might require. I will work with the City Council in our common purpose.
And though we all know that where we live is a piece of Heaven, I will never forget that the people of Sandpoint are what Sandpoint is truly about.
You've probably already got the idea, and can stop here. But if you care to know more, here's the loooong version:
Sandpoint is bigger than Sandpoint! We are the hub of a potentially self-sustaining economic region.
When I decided a little over two years ago it was finally time to return home and headed back from the Southwestern deserts toward the Three Forks / Bozeman area in Montana, I stopped when I found Sandpoint. It's almost everything I grew up with, everything I had missed for decades, but without the severe winters. I do miss the big rivers, but overall, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get any better than this.
Yes, there are a few problems. As with anywhere. And as with everywhere, one of those problems is government.
Yes, we need a little government. People aren't perfect and some things are just easier to do through a cooperative. But the eternal argument must always be, How little can we keep it? Government has an unnatural tendency to insinuate itself into everything; in my opinion our city government is biting off a bit too much and is a bit too far off center. It is well past the point of doing as much harm as good. From here, it either continues unabated and grows ever more oppressive, or it gets corrected and steps back out of the way.
A city can accomplish nothing without a vibrant tax base and a successful business sector. We have neither. We could have both, but only if we stay out of the way of the natural process.
The City of Sandpoint needs to back off from the difficulties it puts up against job creation and private property improvement. Because of such anti-business practices as imposing excessive upfront fees, properties don't get sold, new construction, remodeling and additions don't happen, businesses don't get started and a lot of paychecks are never written. All of which, of course, undermines the city's tax base, adding to our financial woes.
We also need to question how experimental street reconstruction and other environmental fads will factor into the long-term functionality and budgetary questions. Clearly, we need to rethink our priorities as the dollar weakens and the chances fade for continuing lavish federal funding for such experiments.
Sandpoint, and indeed our entire region, needs to stand in its own right and not sell out or bow to outside or special-agenda politics.
We have the resources and talent mix to make Sandpoint successful in every way.
I'm often told that Sandpoint is fairly evenly split between liberal and conservative, business and the arts, growth and preservationist... and so on, as though each of those pairs requires polarization, strife and opposition.
Maybe that kind of bickering was tolerable in the past. You tell me: how has that worked out for us?
And now, times have changed, and not for the better. Congress and the presidency have been betraying their trust for decades now, and the chickens have come home to roost. The money is worse than gone, jobs have followed, and the prospects of cities everywhere have dimmed. Even in Sandpoint: despite our beautiful deck chairs, we are nonetheless riding on the deck of the Titanic.
Continuing to do what we have always done will no longer work. It hasn't worked since long before I got here.
Sandpoint cannot continue to expect to prosper as just a tourist and retirement destination.
We need to encourage new businesses to open, more to move here, and to relieve the pressures on the businesses we have. We need to broaden our business base to accommodate the needs of the future for Sandpoint and North Idaho to be able to stand alone if the outside world continues its slide toward economic oblivion. We may need to develop the means to feed ourselves.
Beauty is only skin deep. We need to ensure that behind our pretty face, Sandpoint stands upon real substance. And we needed to start yesterday.
Recreation and arts are vital, but essential services must come first. Reasonable police protection, the fire department, and Emergency Medical Services are first on my list of priorities, along with safe water, effective wastewater treatment and functional streets.
Yes, we all want parks and trails and the many other amenities that contribute to the quality and character of Sandpoint. I'm a cyclist myself and avoid driving whenever I can.
But we can't continue to skim away the investment capital the market needs to create jobs for the as many as 25% of our North Idaho citizens who are not working. Inhibiting business and oppressing homeowners with outlandish and potentially misapplied impact fees which are then spent on non-essential infrastructure is not good management. Loading up the startup costs so much that new businesses don't come in is counterproductive against economic improvement and future tax revenue.
We need to see how much our second-tier services of governement--the amenities, if you will--might be produced and maintained through creative and non-governmental financing.
I'd like to see an end to the division some imagine between the humanities and business. To begin with, many of our local businesses are deeply intertwined with art and artists. And since there's no more humane way to survive and prosper than being gainfully employed, or selling to the gainfully employed, we need our businesses to be profitable.
I refuse to validate those superficial social and political divisions, and will work to prove that coordination among different creative modes is far better than contesting between them.
Should things get really tough for a while, we're going to need every kind of creativity and innovation we can get our hands on. If that happens, I will be calling on everyone. In fact, I'm already pulling businesspeople and environmental scientists together in search for less expensive, more effective and more ecologically-sound solutions to crop fertilization, pollution and invasive species control, and mining, in quest of the best chance of having our natural resources safely available when as need them.
This is not to say that we can't continue to be beautiful. We just have to do it differently and with greater depth.
As Mayor of Sandpoint, I will invest a significant portion of my efforts into helping project proponents to find free-market solutions and funding. There are many billions of dollars of foundation and other private monies out there, just looking to be put to good use to improve society. I will always focus the city's money into essential services first. But there is neither a need to sacrifice second-tier needs, nor for Sandpoint to continue to to cannibalize itself to pay for them.
I have lived an adventurous and varied life. Not always wisely, and not always profitably in the short run, but eternally instructive, to be sure. I started working in the building industry as a fifth-grader in Montana - doing demolition. That unusual beginning, taking things apart, taught me more about how things fit together than any other lesson in my life. It also lead to my becoming a Master Journeyman carpenter and eventually a custom home builder. I caught a good wave in Southern Nevada, and did well.
I didn't like hitting my thumb in the cold, so I often escaped into the casinos for warmer work in winter, gradually working my way up into senior management. I finished my casino career as a reconstruction turnaround specialist, remodeling small casinos while at the same time keeping them open and building them up for sale.
Then, after a few years mining gold in Arizona (hard rock) and Northern California (dredging), I moved back inside to become a business consultant. Based in California and Texas, I operated nationwide with clients worldwide. I worked with top executives from virtually every industry, in weekly meetings, four or five per day, five or six days a week. Over 20 years, that's over 5,000 two-way brainstormings. I'm still realizing things I learned from that experience!
My specialty was applying what was originally known as Chaos Theory to business practices. My service was to reorient leaders beyond rigid time-decaying planning to developing parallel contingencies and making dynamic adjustments as circumstances change. This work resulted in my developing the Articulate Management business philosophy and the Affirmative Direction management method. My clients routinely doubled and tripled.
Along the way, I also became a personal counselor. That was a natural and necessary choice to be truly effective with businesspeople, who like anyone else cannot avoid having their work influenced by the condition of their lives. In the course of that side of my work, I found the need to develop a different, more spiritual psychaeology to replace the more officially popular but sterile and generally ineffective chemistry-oriented approach to human existence.
I have been published in both the business and philosophical spaces, mostly on the internet. (Where you can also find an unhealthy serving of colorful criticisms and outright lies from jealous detractors.)
I didn't come to Sandpoint to beat my drum. I wasn't expecting to run for public office. I prefer to help other people accomplish their own goals. But I was asked repeatedly, by a variety of people, to run for Mayor of Sandoint. These were people who know my background (and don't care about the colorful stuff!). they see me as having the experience, ability and willingness to operate outside the box. That is what they believe Sandpoint needs at this crucial point in time.
Looking at the skillset I've developed, from a strong understanding of both people and business, a very concrete experience in operating finance and non-profit fundraising, to a wide-ranging scientific and philosophical curiosity, I had to consider it. It was after thinking about our chaotic economic situation and the possibilities of bringing to city government the methods I used to double and triple so many businesses, that I agreed.
All that said, I hope everyone understands one thing perfectly. This is not about me. I've never been famous for following the standard career or social path, and that is just what it is. I don't apologize for my life. I prefer to celebrate and put to use the incredible scope of experience and insight I gained in living it.
This is about what's important for Sandpoint. For my part, it's about what I can bring to the table.
We live in uncertain economic times, and we face an uncertain future. The situation could improve unexpectedly, but no one in any position of knowledge expects that. We need to recognize that we are all in this mess together, and that until we have ensured that everyone who wishes to make a reasonable effort to contribute to our mutual survival is able to do so, we cannot afford to continue to conduct the business of government as usual.
With the faltering dollar causing food, energy and other prices to soar, the fundamentals of living--food, shelter and clothing--are at risk. Therefore the dicussion must turn from what we wish for, to what we need. If indeed things do become even less pleasant, we will need to set aside petty differences, power-bickering and utopian ideals, and pull together.
We can face reality and make the following corrections because current economic realities may inevitably force us to make them, or we can do it just because they strengthen an economic platform which has consistently proven to create prosperity. I don't personally care which reason moves us, since the path is the same for both cases.
We live in uncertain times, and we remain unsure of the economic future. So the economy is the issue these days. So much so that many people are seriously afraid of what the future may bring.
Fortunately, from my extensive financial and business experience, I have developed a unique perspective on economics which will serve us well as we deal with the present survival-level issues facing us as we consider our economic recovery or, as the case may turn out to be, our adjustment to new economic realities.
As I see it, our debt-based paper money is not a truly valuable thing in its own right: it merely represents wealth rather than being wealth. In this view, money is nothing more than an idea backed by confidence. Therefore, the state of the economy is a manifestation of the condition of that confidence.
There are four primary categories and consequences of economic confidence.
In a confidence-based system, recovery depends entirely upon the resilience of the people. In the case of a recession, this may take nothing more than a step back and a regathering of sensibilities. An extended multi-dip recession or a depression, however, requires an extensive re-evaluation and reorientation. Attitudes and priorities must be adjusted, and invention and initiative become necessary.
While I never give up, I also refuse to look at the world through rose-colored glasses.
We are in severely uncertain times. We've already seen a few economic bubbles burst, and the worst, the monetary bubble known as inflation, is yet to rear its ugly head. The local effects of massive inflation take two to three years to appear. We've had two major "quantitative easings" (huge injections of unearned cash into the buying equation), and the inevitable price run-up (drop in the dollar's purchasing power) from the second is yet to come.
When a recession cuts too deep and lasts too long, people begin to despair and it turns into depression--personal and economic. The world is knowcking on that door right now; we must consider our alternatives.
We could see the costs of food and energy double yet again before things level out. And they may never drop back to what we'd like to think of as "normal". Maybe nothing so drastic will happen, even though the real numbers predict it will. Maybe everything will be okay. Or maybe the dollar will fail and lose its reserve currency status and with it the nation might slip into third-world status behind its growing debt.
Somewhere around 25% percent of the people in our region are effectively out of work and more are getting there every month. And there are more businesses on the edge than anyone wants to know about, more than one of them major employers. We need to plan and act accordingly.
I certainly don't want any of this to be true, but to be responsible now as a candidate and later as your mayor, I have to consider what it might mean. What if it means that we find ourselves on our own for a while? We will need every bit of experience, creativity and wisdom we can muster bring warmth to the hearth and food to the table.
And if full disaster doesn't materialize? Well, if all our work in preparing merely results in a stronger, broader, better-integrated local economy and a heightened acceptance of the fact that we are all in this mess together, that will be a good thing. We can win either way.
Either way, we need to change with the times. What was, is gone. Doing the same things repeatedly just reaffirms existing unwanted results. We may not be able to cure the world's or the nation's ills from Sandpoint, and maybe those things will just take care of themselves over time. Meanwhile, we certainly must do what we can about Sandpoint's own systemic problems.
Every day is a new set of initial conditions. The past is only prologue; it points to certain probabilities, but it cannot enforce them. Many possibilities remain in waiting.
The future is ours to choose.
Remember, the election is Tuesday, November 8th
or email me:
or email me:
Last updated October 20 2011, 1:42AM