Sunday, November 20, 2005

Three candidates for Property Evaluation Administrator may be watching the race from the sidelines next year. Candidates for PVA are required to a take a qualifying test one year before filing to run. Well, that’s exacting what Democrats Melvin Ratchford and Tony Lindauer did, along with Independent and political novice Griffin Torrence. Each took the test in January. They planned on challenging current PVA, John May. May, a Republican, who was appointed by GOP Governor Ernie Fletcher to replacing the former administrator, a Democrat, who had been elected to the Kentucky Senate. This has left a lot of people screaming foul (see Click here: 3 hopefuls blocked from 2006 PVA ballot in the Courier Journal for more details).

Each of the candidates’ received letters confirming they were eligible to run. Each candidate has been on the campaign trial, raising and spending money. Now, they’ve been told that due to “human error” and a previously unannounced policy change, they needed to retake the test in November. What makes this even more interesting is that the two Democrats showed up in November to retake the test, and was sent home after being told it wasn’t necessary! Basically, this leaves just the rookie Independent to run against the incumbent, May.

Now, some folks are blaming John May for engineering this SNAFU. I don’t think so. I’ve met John May a couple of times. He’s a good guy. He seems pretty well liked. He’s competent, and has done a pretty good job a PVA. Others, however, are saying that John can’t raise the money needed given that the seat has been long held by Democrats. That doesn’t quite wash either. John has done a pretty good job fundraising. I think he’s been looking forward to a challenging race, besides, this is way beyond his scope of influence.

Others, however, are pointing their finger at Governor Fletcher. After all, they say, May is a good friend of the governor. Fletcher is just protecting his interests. Besides, all is far in fair in Kentucky politics right? I’ve ran twice for office. The first time, for a seat on the newly created Metro Council. Then governor, Paul Patton, was just starting to have problems of his own in Frankfort, and yet he took time out to get directly involved in my race against me. Apparently he and his cronies were, according to oft repeated rumors, looking for someone they could control, especially on key votes, and I didn’t fit the bill. Still, I don’t think Governor Fletcher’s fingerprints are on this one. He’s got too many fires in Frankfort he’s trying to put out. There’s no reason he’d risk further political damage by getting involved, directly or indirectly, in this race. No, I think this really was a case of human error and a failure of communication. Simple bureaucracy at it’s finest…or worse.

Where or not, Ratchford, Lindauer, or Torrence should have been given the “all clear” is irrelevant at this point. The facts of the matter are this: They were not made aware of the change in policy governing the testing; two of the candidates made a good faith effort to retake the test but were refused; each candidate was ok’d to proceed with the respective races. Now, I don’t know Lindauer or Torrence, but I do know Melvin Ratchford. He’s a hellva guy, very well qualified, and a hard campaigner. I know he wants to run. I want to see him have the opportunity to run, and I think everyone, including May, wants to see a competitive race. Everyone should contact the Board of Elections and demand these three candidates be allowed to run. There is no reason they should be penalized for a mistake not of their making.

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