David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

Normal Version

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A Reminder, Some Predictions, Where to Go for Early Returns, and Some Much-Needed Fun

Some serious information and . . . something else entirely.


First things first, particularly where you American Forkers are concerned. There's a municipal primary election tomorrow to reduce a field of three mayoral candidates to two, and nine city council candidates to four (for two seats). I couldn't find an official statement at the official Utah County Web site of the hours when polls are open, and American Fork's site doesn't say, either, despite listing polling places for each precinct and other information. If memory serves, the hours are likely to be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; I'll confirm that later this morning.

Candidate information is available here at LocalCommentary.com, including questions posed to the mayoral candidates and their answers. The best place to start is at the home page.

Crystal Ball . . . Not!

My predictions come with the usual disclaimer: My crystal ball was confiscated years ago. The official explanation was gross incompetence on the part of the user.

In the mayoral race, incumbent Heber Thompson will finish first. If he has 60 percent or less of the overall vote, watch for the race to the general election to get interesting. (Even if the margin is larger, it could still get interesting, but it will have to try harder.) Challenger James "J.H." Hadfield will finish second, in part because of broad name recognition. Challenger Ed Cameron will finish third and be done, but will get some votes, mostly due to a pretty good ground game.

In the city council race, incumbents Heidi Rodeback (MFCC) and Dale Gunther will finish well ahead of the pack, and -- wild guess -- will finish in that order. (I'm definitely biased.) I'm at a loss to pick which of the other seven candidates will finish third and fourth, but I'll venture a guess: Marc Ellison (fair name recognition, since he has run before and has some positive press coverage for another matter) and Darren Cooper (if he has a ground game) or Jess Green (because some of the people who knew him as mayor seem to long for those bygone days).

Those Early Returns

I plan to be with the candidates (one more than the others) as the votes are counted and announced for each precinct -- somewhere in one of the City buildings, no doubt. I can't blog from there, but I can tweet (twit?) results as they come in. Check the new Twitter feed on my blog's main page or follow LocalCommentary on Twitter. When all the results are in and I'm back home, where I can blog, I will.

The Fun I Promised

For reasons of my own, I googled each of the candidate's names last night. Along the way I learned some interesting and unexpected things, which I feel to share with you before you vote, if you haven't already.

There was an Ernest Heber Thompson who was an artist and cartoonist from New Zealand, but who I assume should not be confused with our earnest Heber Thompson.

James Hadfield of England attempted to assassinate King George III, failed, and was acquitted at trial by reason of insanity. Probably not the same guy. Ours doesn't look that old, and he probably wouldn't have failed.

Ed Cameron is simultaneously running for city council in American Fork, Utah, and Newburyport, Massachusetts. He is a Harvard-trained physicist who worked on serious projects with Nicola Tesla and Albert Einstein. Apparently, he is also a noted time traveler (which explains all the rest) and is on the lecture circuit. Or perhaps these are three or four different guys, and one shouldn't necessarily conflate everything one finds on the Internet.

Dale O. Gunther is known by several aliases around the United States: Dale Gunther (an HR guy in the greater Denver area), Dale Gunther (a 1993 graduate of the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA), Dale Gunther (a 1967 graduate of SUNY Delhi), Dale T. Gunther (a faceless fellow on Facebook), and H. Dale Gunther, who with someone named Marie M. Gunther had a little court case with the IRS in 1990. (No wonder he used an alias.) It just goes to show you that (a) you never really know a person, (b) it's a miracle Councilman Gunther has time for all those meetings in American Fork, and (c) a little googling can be a dangerous thing.

There appears to be no one else in the online universe named Heidi Rodeback or Gretchen Wiltbank, which is more than a little suspicious, don't you think? What did they do with the others? (I'm using the conspiracy lovers' logic here: If there's absolutely no evidence of a thing, that proves conclusively that it exists.)

Marc Ellison is a professor of Social Science at Marshall University, a well-known cricket player in Australia, and a blues musician in Great Britain -- and therefore probably has the most accumulated frequent flyer miles of any American Fork candidate on the ballot, besides having the coolest (if slightly confused) UK accent.

Jess Green is an Ada, Oklahoma, attorney with some interest in blackjack tournaments; a (female!) jazz musician in Sydney, Australia; and seems to be jealous of Cameron Diaz. He may be the most, ahem, versatile of the candidates.

I'll admit that the Robert Godfrey I saw at a candidate event probably isn't -- and certainly doesn't look like -- the Robert Godfrey who is on the faculty of Westminster Seminary in California and is a painter in Asheville, North Carolina with "over 50 solo exhibitions" -- which solo exhibitions, like his association with the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, take on a whole new meaning if you consider the ignominious end of his high school gym teaching career in Ewing, New Jersey. (It's getting so you can't tell the Robert Godfreys without an atlas.)

According to Facebook, Andy Dobmann is younger and not as tall as the candidate he plays in American Fork, and he lives in Switzerland. No wonder he couldn't make it to the meet-the-candidates event the other evening.

Larry Webb moonlights as an attorney specializing in probate and estate planning in Camarillo, California; the retired, award-winning CEO of a Newport Beach, California, construction company; the owner of an insurance agency in Indianapolis, Indiana; and a Mississippi realtor. Clearly, he is unduly modest when he says he's just a regular, blue-collar guy. And let's give the man some credit: judging by the photos, he's a master of disguise.

Darren Cooper has some esoteric hobbies. He blogs about New Jersey High School football; plays for the NBA's Development League; has assorted professional activities in London, Frankfurt, Calgary, Cleveland, North Carolina, Dallas, Dayton, Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto, Provo, and elsewhere; and is about to release an albumThree Hour Tour, for which he does lead guitar and vocals. (It doesn't appear to have anything to do with Gilligan's Island, which seems wrong.)

If you now know even less about the people whose names you will see on the ballot today, how is that my fault? You're the one who's been reading this post. (Thanks for reading.)

Shirl LeBaron comments (9/15/09, via Facebook):

Loved the googling oogling. It's like a modern day "What's my Line?" Which could be a portion of a "Candidates Forum." The only one missing is Wrongway (sp?) Feldman from Gilligan's Island.

Normal Version