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Check the rhetoric

August 11, 2017
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Breeze is not planning to endorse or make candidate recommendations in the Cape Coral City Council primary election.

We will, however, offer some advice to those casting a ballot: Check the rhetoric and weigh the candidates seeking to serve carefully.

Simply put, talk is cheap and catch phrases too often pulled from the well-worn, but ever-popular Candidate Playbook.

And on the flip side, it's become way too easy for supporters and critics alike to flock to Facebook and post any number of things that may or may not be accurate.

In some ways, choosing a candidate is worse than navigating the dating pool- it's basically saying, yeah, you're the one, here's my checkbook, my credit card and the keys to my city.

Then, for the next four years, as you cross your fingers and hope they'll be everything they promised and you won't wind up - literally - paying for the choice you made.

Fortunately, this election year there are good candidates in every race - and some do have more than one.

So how to sort through the sweet talk and evaluate each one for their potential for the short haul?

We start with the individual candidate first -who they are, their unique background, what they have accomplished.

It may be easier to begin with assumptions - no incumbents, no supported-by-this-person candidates, no insert-bias-of choice here.

But easy is seldom best.

For example, incumbents often have very different voting records and fiscal philosophies. "Draining the swamp" may sound great but the last thing you want to lose via a radical change in ecosystem is the rarest of endangered species - elected officials who understand there is a higher order of business than getting re-elected.

There are some of these on the primary ballot.

So don't negate out of the gate.

Instead, weigh accomplishments, particularly those that are applicable to public office.

Have they managed a business or a budget? Worked with diverse groups of people to reach a common goal? Demonstrated a willingness to serve the community through volunteerism or participation with civic or professional organizations?

Evaluate demeanor.

Are they professional in appearance and approach? How do they comport themselves in public? When things heat up, do they appear to be "escalators" who would ratchet the situation up, or "de-escalators," who inspire confidence in their ability to calm the moment and move forward?

Do they have answers and solutions- or just questions and criticisms?

Have they taken the time to research the issues and so are knowledgeable on the challenges the city faces? Do they have "all the answers" - and are they afraid to say "I don't know?"

Do they fight fair? How about their supporters -and who are they? From where is the money coming?

What is their barnyard barometer reading? Do their promises pass the sniff test? What, exactly, are they going to do to bring their political promises to fruition? And how exactly - exactly - are they going to fund anything with a cost?

There's lots to consider and the clock it winding down - mail ballots went out this week, early voting is little more than three weeks away - Sept. 5-9 - and election day is Sept 12.

We would urge all those intending to cast a ballot to do their homework so as to choose wisely. There's simply too much at stake to simply check a box and hope for the best after the honeymoon period ends.

And believe us, it always does.

- Breeze editorial

Editor's Note: A list of the candidates on the primary ballot may be found on page 10A of today's print edition where the Breeze continues its issue related "Question of the Week" feature. Breeze questions, along with all of our election-related coverage, also may be found here at under "News" "Election 2017." We invite you to read.



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