Debunking Moira Smith’s Campaign Poster


This morning, Paul Smith placed the above image on his personal Facebook page.  It is a campaign poster for his wife, Moira, who is running alongside him for office in the November 3, 2015 city election.  I want to discuss the campaign issues listed on the lower left poster to address some falsehoods.  In a separate section, below, I will address her reasons on the upper right as to why the “old Council” must be replaced.

Campaign Issues

On the lower left, you will see the following issues.  I am posting each as a separate bullet point, and then commenting on each one in turn:

  • “Council must stand for the residents, not outside interests”

What you might think:

“Doesn’t it stand to reason that the council should be focused on the residents and not anyone else?”

The real story:

This is an implication that the current council doesn’t work for the residents, and somehow is being manipulated to doing the bidding of powerful, outside interests that lurk in the shadows.  She may be covertly referring to the LGBT lobby, or DTE, or perhaps the Trilateral Commission.  It is unclear.

In reality, this is an attempt to create the fear, uncertainty and doubt that her campaign is relying heavily upon.  People fear being secretly controlled, and she is indirectly trying to say that the current council is, in some Machiavellian scheme, taking orders from The Powers That Be, rather than listening to the residents and just trying to run the city the best way they can.

I would be more inclined to think that Mrs. Smith is taking her marching orders from outside interests, namely the Tea Party, than our current group of council members.  At best, she is making a baseless accusation without any specifics, and hoping that the voters don’t recognize it for what it is: a sham.

  • “Restore our traditional elegant logo”

What you might think:

“The city lost something of great historic value when the current council replaced the logo.”

The real story:

First, a thought: if what’s appearing on the city’s letterhead is your number two campaign issue, maybe you don’t have much of any importance to run on.

The city recently spent about $8,000 to redesign its logo, and it was introduced this past January as part of the rebranding effort included in the city’s 2030 vision statement.  Eight thousand bucks sounds like a lot of money, but it represents 0.0005.9% of the city’s $135M annual budget.

Now whether you like the new logo or the old logo or neither one is a matter of taste.  Personally I have seen the new logo compared with a dishwasher soap packet, and in a way I tend to agree.  But the fact remains that entities such as the city redesign and refresh their logos every few years.  Google did so just in the past few weeks.  Marketing efforts always strive to keep the material in public view fresh and appealing, and the logo change is little more than that.  The city has to market itself in order to attract new businesses and residents and remain viable.

If a Moira Smith term in office implies that the city will stop attempting to market itself, then there is a serious problem with her candidacy.  If such ideas were to overtake council, we could see the city’s fortunes trending downward as it failed to attract new residents.

  • ‘Phase out the “temporary emergency 1.9 mil tax hike”‘

What you might think:

“Hey!  That tax hike wasn’t supposed to be permanent?!?  Things are better now!  Give us back our money!”

The real story:

This is a blatant lie wrapped in a falsehood.

I am intimately familiar with this issue, because it is the issue that prompted my activism back in 2010, which ultimately resulted in the blog you’re reading right now.  To be perfectly clear, I was against this tax hike.  The against side lost.

First of all, the 1.9 mil tax hike was never promised to be temporary.  This was one of my big objections to it at the time.  I knew it was going to be permanent, everyone knew it was going to be permanent.  It wasn’t an emergency measure, it was a response to a trend that started in 2008 and nearly bankrupted the entire state.  The real estate market crash destroyed the city’s funding model, and the city had to decide whether or not to drastically downsize emergency and other services, or raise taxes.  The idea that the tax hike would be temporary was wishful thinking on the part of the people who opposed it.

Mrs. Smith is attempting to tell you that the funds being brought in by the 1.9 mil increase enacted in 2010 are no longer needed, and she’s relying upon the fading memories of the situation five years ago to get you to believe that it was supposed to be temporary.

This is a damned lie.  First, if you take significant tax revenue out of the city right now, there is going to be a massive funding problem.  The only way to “phase out” the tax is to “phase out” emergency services.  Period.  End of story.

  • “Govern according to THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE”

What you might think:

“Mrs. Smith and her husband, Paul Smith, know what’s going on inside our city government, and they know that the will of the people is being ignored.”

The real story:

Mrs. Smith has a distorted view of what the will of the people is.

She may be referring to “the will of the people” regarding the LGBT issue, in which she and her husband managed to engineer a fabrication substantial enough to scare 8,000 people into signing a petition ordering the anti-discrimination ordinance be either rescinded or put to a vote in an election.

I would remind Mrs. Smith that Sterling Heights was only the 35th city in the State of Michigan to pass an ordinance of that nature at the time, not the first or second.  I would further remind her that we do not live in a pure democracy, where the “will of the people” can be known in its entirety for every single issue that comes before council.  We live in a representative republic, and we entrust the people who are our elected officials to do what they think is best.

This ‘will of the people’ thing is a canard, plain and simple.  If elected, Mrs. Smith will not enact a pure democracy and take polls on every decision she must make.  She will do what she thinks is best, and in her mind, that equates with “the will of the people.”  In other words, she has deluded herself into thinking that her thoughts and beliefs represent what everyone else thinks.  It is sad to see someone operating under such misapprehensions.

Why Mrs. Smith Thinks Council Must Be Replaced

Again, I’m going to take her reasons why council must be replaced and address each one in turn.

  • “Passing an unwanted ordinance that triggered a massive repeal campaign.”

What is she talking about?

This is with little doubt a reference to the Anti-LGBT discrimination ordinance passed in the summer of 2014, the subsequent petition drive, and the ultimate rescission of the ordinance.

What is she really saying?

Mrs. Smith and a number of her fellow candidates were against passing anti-discrimination ordinances that favor members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community for religious reasons.

Believing that homosexuality is an abomination against God, she and her husband fought tooth and nail to make sure that no ordinance would protect these folks from the likes of her, who would be willing to discriminate against the LGBTs without remorse.

Mrs. Smith and her husband managed to get a very small portion of the electorate to sign a petition that forced the issue to be decided by a public vote.  I and my wife were approached by the petitioners, and they neither understood nor cared what the law actually said.  The petitioners fabricated reasons why the law was a bad idea, and they found 8,000 people who believed them enough to think they should sign.  Some portion of those 8,000 people may have signed because they thought all important decisions should be put to a vote, possibly because they operate under the same misapprehension that Mrs. Smith does about our form of government being a pure democracy.

  • “Turning Dodge Park into a flea market”

What is she talking about?

This item refers to the introduction of the Farmer’s Market at Dodge Park.

What is she really saying?

Mrs. Smith is against using the city’s parks for organized activities such as the Farmer’s Market and SterlingFest.  She has appeared at a City Council meeting with pictures of wildlife, claiming that it is being displaced by these activities.

Since the Farmer’s Market has been, by all reports, an unqualified success since its introduction, the only way she can attack it is by disparaging it as a “flea market,” which is a false and misleading characterization of what is actually going on there on Thursdays.

The well-informed voter merely needs to visit one of these events to confirm that Mrs. Smith is, once again, distorting reality in an effort to manufacture a campaign issue.

A Smith on the Council would be a “No” vote for popular activities such as SterlingFest, which, by the way, are revenue neutral; a very inexpensive way for the city to provide recreation opportunities to the residents.

  • “A spending and hiring binge without open public consent.”

What is she talking about?

This item may be referring to the recent hiring of several police officers and the purchase of several pieces of equipment for the Department of Public Works, among other things.

What is she really saying?

Mrs. Smith has forgotten that the city put a “Safe Streets” millage proposal on the ballot in the last general election and it passed by a substantial margin.  If the term “open public consent” means anything, this millage proposal’s passage would be it.

Instead of closing a fire station and laying off 45 police officers, the city is able to retain that station, keep those officers on the force, and hire a few more to replace officers that will soon be retiring.

That is not a “binge”, it is maintaining what we have, and what we have compares very favorably to national averages.  We are well below the number of police per thousand residents typical for cities of our size.  Our Fire Department’s service is well designed; closing that station would have made a dramatic increase in response times…but maybe not as much in the part of the city where she and Mr. Smith live.

So we have a “binge” that is not a binge, and something that happened “without open public consent” that passed a vote of the public with flying colors.

Conclusions

By telling us the issues she is running on, Mrs. Smith has confirmed that she has a distorted view of the reality of what is going on in our city government.

Mrs. Smith is driven by ideology, not practical concerns.  Her approach to significant issues is not to observe, orient, decide and act, but rather to consult the Tea Party playbook and regurgitate a canned response.

A simple ideologue, she is not deserving of public office.

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Posted on September 17, 2015, in Election 2015, Issues and views, Paul Smith. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Debunking Moira Smith’s Campaign Poster.

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