One Man’s Activist Is…

Another man’s “Advocate?”

Robert Leger published an editorial in the Scottsdale Republic this week lauding the work of a Fountain Hills man named Paul Ryans who wants to change the law regarding recall campaigns and elections.

There are several things that strike me funny about that. However, I was going to just ignore it until an astute reader pointed out that Robert Leger wrote,

Ryan…is the rare advocate seeking a change that won’t benefit him other than the warm feeling produced by doing the right thing.

I’m going to get back to Leger’s use of the title “advocate” in a moment. A couple of other issues first, though:

  1. The state legislature effectively killed any realistic chance of ever having a recall election in Scottsdale by requiring us to move city elections from spring to fall. The numbers of signatures required to initiate a recall (and a referendum) is based on the numbers voting in the last city election. Those numbers go up drastically when city elections are held at the same time as federal elections. Leger has never complained ONCE about this utter travesty against democracy. About the only way we’ll ever see a recall here is by the influence of outside forces and money; exactly the source of Ryans’ objections.
  2. Robert’s brother Henry Leger is one of those targeted by the recall in Fountain Hills. You’d think Robert Leger would have refrained from weighing in on this issue, or at the very least included a disclaimer. However, he didn’t even MENTION this fact that goes straight to the perception of credibility of his writing on the subject.
  3. And back to the point at-hand: From Robert Leger’s description of Ryans’ “advocacy,” it appears this is one of the first issues in which Ryans has had significant involvement. There are hundreds of ordinary citizens in Scottsdale who’ve invested collectively tens of thousands of unpaid hours trying to make Scottsdale a better place. Yet somehow, Ryans is magically elevated to “rare advocate” right over the top of folks who’ve been doing the same yeoman’s job for DECADES…folks who Robert Leger has always dismissed as mere “activists.”

I guess this means that, a) Robert Leger is just opposed to the democratic process of recall elections, especially if they involve relatives, friends, and business associates; and b) if you have a history of civic involvement that encompasses exactly one issue, and your position happens to be supportive of one of Robert Leger’s relatives, you are more worthy than the rest of us.

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  1. UPDATE: The Vice Mayor of Fountain Hills herself just corrected me: She says Robert Leger and Henry Leger are not related. I was told by a source that I trusted that they were brothers and I apologize to both Henry and Robert for not checking that independently.

    However, I still question how Ryans rates as an “advocate,” while Robert reserves the less flattering “activist” for those who disagree with him.

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