Baugh and Wiens: why they’re running

Brent Finnegan -- May 24th, 2008

This is a day late, but I’ve been busy. Yesterday Planning Commission members Richard Baugh and David Wiens made their candidacy for City Council official in the Denton pocket park downtown.

Both candidates are running as Democrats. There are three seats up for election in November.

17 Responses to “Baugh and Wiens: why they’re running”

  1. Baugh stated “I don’t think the community is apathetic. I think the community is busy. They’re busy, and they just don’t, they don’t have, they can’t possibly be involved. ”

    Out of curiosity, what was the question that was asked? I imagine something along the lines of whether the community is apathetic, or whether they are involved?

    I’d be curious to hear the candidates’ thoughts on whether the city / planning commission / city council should try to engage the city residents in the governance and decision making process, and if so, how it should be done…

  2. Gxeremio says:

    I had a chance to talk with Richard Baugh later that evening and I was impressed with his emphasis on Harrisonburg being a “small city” as a guiding principle. To me, that means being different from small towns by offering more options like public transportation, a school system with lots of options like bilingual education, and diverse options for shopping and dining. It also means being different from big cities by helping people feel (and be) connected to one another, avoiding creating “bad parts of town”, and thinking seriously about traffic and commute times.

    I like that both of them talked about actually using the planning commission’s comp plan.

  3. finnegan says:

    My question (to both candidates) was basically “Council meetings are open to the public, but it seems like very few people show up. Should anything be done to try to involve the citizens more?”

    I updated the video to include my question.

  4. Thanh says:

    Thanks for sharing that!

  5. “No more done deals.” This is the line for these guys, Baugh in particular.

  6. Finnegan: “Council meetings are open to the public, but it seems like very few people show up. Should anything be done to try to involve the citizens more?”

    Baugh: “I don’t think the community is apathetic. I think the community is busy. They’re busy, and they just don’t, they don’t have, they can’t possibly be involved. ”

    Yes, people are busy — but I hope that current City Council members and those elected in the near future have a more hopeful attitude about citizen participation in the government process. Per Baugh’s statement: “…they can’t possibly be involved”, he doesn’t seem to be holding that up as a goal.

  7. To clarify — I’m not trying to give Baugh a hard time — I just think local government should do everything possible to encourage citizen participation.

  8. Karl says:

    Seeking public involvement at council meetings is a lot like asking people to vote. It’s great if they’re informed, not so much if they’re not.

  9. Richard Baugh says:

    Just to be clear, I think the point about everything possible being done to encourage citizen participation is what I was talking about right before the part shown in the clip. I certainly agree with that and intend to campaign on the point. But I did do three interviews in rapid succession, so I cannot promise that my recollection is 100% clear on this.

    I believe the part shown in the clip is when I went on to a second point, which is that I believe Council members ought to act and vote the same way when there is a room full of people as when there isn’t. Harrisonburg citizens are entitled to faithful representation, regardless of the level of citizen involvement in a particular issue. They are even entitled to count on it, in the face of busy lives that make things like routine participation in local government matters difficult. That is the point I was trying to make.

  10. Richard — very helpful context — thanks for filling in the gaps! :)

  11. finnegan says:

    Thanks for the comment, Richard.

    I wasn’t trying to edit out any context. Rather, I was trying to condense everything down into a few minutes. It would be less work for me to post the unedited videos, but it would take a lot longer to watch.

    Out of curiosity, which would readers prefer? Raw footage or edited “summary?”

  12. finnegan — I’m sure you weren’t trying to edit out any context, and I appreciated the edited “summary”. I got the wrong impression because of the lack of context, but that certainly wasn’t your intent, nor do I think it would happen very often if you did the edited summary. Perhaps you could do the edited summary, and also post a link to the raw footage? Then, if someone wanted to, they could watch all of the footage as well to get a fuller context for the interview.

  13. Richard Baugh says:

    Just to be clear, I was seeking to clarify, not complain. I actually have this strange notion that it is not only ok for me to have to explain myself from time to time, but that it is a minimum the public should be able to expect from Council members, and elected officials in general.

  14. finnegan says:

    That is a refreshingly strange notion.

  15. David Miller says:

    I agree with you Brent, “refreshingly strange notion”. Scott has a great point about providing both. I’d love to be able to scroll to section of the interview that was summarized and see the entirety.

  16. Lowell says:

    This refreshing perspective on local government is precisely why Richard would make such a valuable addition to, and component of the city council. I have not met a more thoughtful individual on most any issue, and certainly this is true regarding his concern and investment of himself in the community of Harrisonburg.

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