LETTER: Reader wonders how much money city council candidates spend

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

Dear Editor:

Update on our Election for Des Moines City Council:

Have you ever wondered at how much and whether money plays a part in our Democracy? Do we really have a chance at fair representation when the wealthiest are the ones who hold office and have little or no concept of “needing”? Today, just for curiosity, I researched the candidate’s reserves for the upcoming election for City Council in Des Moines Washington.

Here is where the candidates’ funds stand:

  • Mayor Kaplan: $5230 (A healthy war chest!)
  • Council Member Pina: $2008 (Not a bad collection either!)
  • Council Member Musser: $250 ( Lucky not to have an opponent!)
  • Council Member Nutting: $5772 (Does anyone stand a chance of a snowball with this huge amount?)
  • Candidate Payne:$0.0 (This man may not stand a chance if money is the criteria)

Opinion (Mine Only):

My personal choice for Mayor and Council members are Dave Kaplan and Matt Pina, however the apparent support for Mr. Nutting does not seem fair to me. It is more like extinguishing an ant with a sledge hammer!

Now, this is a free country and my opinion may not be agreeable to some readers but shouldn’t you look at the candidate’s potential rather than his pocket book?

– Pat Nardo

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16 Responses to “LETTER: Reader wonders how much money city council candidates spend”
  1. Bob Sheckler says:

    Exactly Mr. Nardo. Look at a candidates potential rather than his pocketbook. That’s why Mr. Nutting will win. By the way, Mr. Payne opted to do short form reporting . This is why he shows no funds.

    • Bob Sheckler says:

      While we are on the subject, who paid for all the Payne signs we see all over town? I see there is one on Don Wasson’s property. When it comes to buying elections, only one elected official in our entire city history was ever charged and fined for this PDC violation. That was your “good friend” Don Wasson. I look forward to your response Mr. Nardo. Let’s get into a debate over this one.

      • Wanker says:

        ^ Ridiculous behavior from our elected officials. I as a Des Moines resident expect more from our council than bringing up past mud that has nothing to do with current issues.

  2. Dan Johnson says:

    It’s a fair question, Mr. Nardo, but I think the real question is who is the best choice here. To suggest that Councilman Nutting is buying the election is ridiculous. In a Council race your primary objective is to inform the voters as to who you are and what you stand for. I’ve sat through too many candidiate’s forums with only 30-50 voters in attendance to know that you can’t reach enough of the 15,000+ registered voters in Des Moines that way. It appears that Councilman Nutting has a plan to reach voters by sending them a mailer. Unfortunately, that costs a lot of money but Councilman Nutting must feel it is important. I would rather support someone that has a plan than someone who (based on his PDC filing, which limits what he is legally allowed to spend) has no intention of informing the majority of voters as to who he is and what he stands for.

    • Pat NArdo says:

      It is more than ridiculous to infer that Mr. Nutting is or even intended to win as a result of his finances. That is not where I was heading; only that the more cash you have, the more advertising you can afford and name recognition will ultimately affect a voter decision. I guess you could read anything you were so inclined to infer from my “wondering” By the way, Dan, I have long been a fan of yours and often wonder why you are not in the running.

  3. Dave Kaplan says:

    Money doesn’t equal success. A number of candidates in the past have raised substantial amounts of money and not been elected. It costs money to mail, for signs, and doorbell brochures … plus a little bit of advertising. I’d say that Jeremy Nutting’s fundraising demonstrates broad support … as does his nearly 56% victory in the Primary Election (I believe Mr. Payne garnered 34%).

    As for the numbers, within a week of the Primary Election I sat down with Mr. Payne and reviewed his financials (as is allowed under the Public Disclosure Act.) He had raised just a bit over $1200. Not zero, as would be implied by my friend Pat Nardo.

    Also, for the record, I’ve contributed to Jeremy’s campaign ($100 thus far), and will again. Pat, have you contributed to Mr. Payne’s campaign? If so, how much?

    • Pat NArdo says:

      David, as always, you are right! Money is not everything and I missed my target here. It stands to reason that the more you have in your campaign chest, the more you are able to get out to the voting public. That is all I intended to get off on my wondering mode. As for both Mr. Nutting, and Mr.Payne; I know neither one but agree that either one would likely be good for our council and its future but n different ways perhaps.
      No, I have not contributed more than our votes toward Mr. Payne. Thank you for your gentlemanly response. Mr. Mayor!

  4. Janel Stoneback says:

    I agree that their potential is what should stand out and if you have been to any community event this year in the city of Des Moines, you would know the Nutting family is definitely involved. They are raising children in our community, and own a business in our community. I would say there is an invested amount of interest what is best for our community!

    • Pat NArdo says:

      My guess here is that both candidates are equally community dedicated people. It is also true that my tendency is to weigh in on the apparent underdog. So I am 100% in agreement with you as well on “vested amount of interest”. May the best man win on that premise! Some friends of mine will vote on my choice and some in opposition, but in the end the friendships will not be tattered. Isn’t it great to be American!?

  5. Frank says:

    Looks like you’re doing a little back peddling here Pat.

    • Pat NArdo says:

      Yes it does but I was misinterpreted to begin with. I could have done more home work as I wrote and from now on I will annotate in “Word” first, removing any kinks before going to “press”. Basically, I still believe that the more money you have and pour into a campaign, the better your cancels are of winning. This is not always true however, but if you have no funds, what do think your chances would be of even winning a job as street sweeper?
      Look at the presidential elections for example; the most publicized items on the news relate to how large a “War Chest” is! So….my wonder remains the same. The one with the most marbles usually wins and that is not to say the winner “Bought” the election.
      Thank you, Frank, for our observation.

  6. Pat NArdo says:

    Time out! I do not understand the apparent attack on my old friend, Don Wasson for something he was involved with ten or fifteen years ago. Do we have an unforgiving council member? This should be put to rest now and opinions are not likely to change. A public official should be a little less intimidating and I hope this is the end of personal conflict. Yes, I did not read it the other day as it was posted!

    • Dave Kaplan says:


      It was 12 years ago when then Councilmember Wasson illegally solicited and hid from public view (as did those putting up the money) the $50,000 that was used to elect those who elevated him (temporarily) to the mayorship.

      The $50,000 was more than the 8 candidates in the General Election had raised and spent on their own … COMBINED! Mr. Wasson was forced to step down as mayor by his fellow councilmembers, then resigned in disgrace as part of a settlement with the Public Disclosure Commission. He was fined by the PDC $10,000 ($7,500 of that suspended), and had to stay out of the financial end of campaigns per the stipulated agreement.

      For those who put up the money, between their shenanigans in the 2001 and 1999 races (both of which were resulting from complaints I filed with the Public Disclosure Commission), the State Attorney General wound up fining the donors $188,000 in penalties and investigation reimbursement costs. THAT is what you get when you’re affiliated with Don Wasson.

      It remains one of the most (if not THE most) egregious abuses of the state’s Public Disclosure laws since they were enacted by initiative in 1972!

      • Frank says:

        Thank you for bringing this to light Dave. In an effort to learn more on this issue, I googled “Don Wasson”. In addition to what you stated it appears that Mr. Wasson obtained the money from a company that wanted to haul dirt to the 3rd runway via our beach park. I think you should choose your friends more wisely Pat.

        • Pat Nardo says:

          Mr. Frank;
          My choices are my business and you may not have the whole story to make a judgment. Don remains my friend; that’s the end of this issue. It would seem to me that a council member digging up an old mud pie should think about forgiveness instead.

  7. Pat Nardo says:

    Here I sit with no knowledge of any power to move anyone, and popularity that depends on all our neighborhood dogs for treats that they know I always carry in my pockets. Suddenly, I am challenged to a “debate” which I thought I already had here in the blog. This from the most powerful an popular council member in Des Moines, who recently won with a whopping 31 votes over an unknown young lady. There were 6741 votes counted and 30 that voted blank. I concede and leave the debating to professionals.

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