Ten days ago, I offered a preliminary announcement about the 2014 Johnson County Attorney and Supervisor Race Candidate Awards.
Since then, I worked on formulating a framework for distributing awards to the various county candidate campaigns.
The awards are an effort to broadly support those who run for public office in Johnson County, especially candidates who can impact our local justice system. Another purpose for the awards is to reward effective campaigning and support those who are bringing critical justice issues to the forefront of our community conversation.
Base Award – Criteria Categories Explained
For base award criteria, campaigns are evaluated on their effective use of social media, branding, and other aspects of effective community outreach. Some of the award criteria are based on things that are beneficial to our community, but may not have anything to do with justice services.
- Base Donation. All those who step forward and throw their hat in the ring with a desire to serve our community deserve our support. It’s daunting to be placed in the public eye and open for challenging questions and criticism. Assuming one ‘wins’ an election, the prize is a lot of hard work for not much pay. This award goes to all candidates.
- Supporting the Arts/Music in Campaigning. It’s important to support music and the arts. Creating events that involve live performances is an excellent way to support local artist and also help connect with those who might identify with your message. It’s also a nice way to give to the community, since many people enjoy public events regardless of who they might vote for. This award goes to all candidates with an additional amount going to the candidate with the most events supporting music and/or the arts.
- Use of Social Media. Social media is an essential part of public engagement. Those who use social media in campaigning are likely to continue using it as a way to inform the public and engage the public in the future. This award goes to all candidates who excelled in their use of social media.
- Use of Local Restaurants. When holding fundraisers and public events, it’s nice to support local restaurants. It’s not always possible to support local businesses when campaigning, but holding public meetings at restaurants is one way to support our local business owners. This award goes to candidates who chose a locally owned restaurant as a meeting venue.
- Branding Quality in Digital and Print Media. The image we present to the outside world conveys a lot. A candidate who uses professional graphics and advanced web design methods will likely continue using these as tools to present our community in a professional and accessible way to the outside world. This award goes to one selected candidate who excels in this area.
- Friend of Bicyclists. Bicycles reduce noise, reduce pollution, promote health, save time, save space, and save money. So, this award goes to one selected candidate who excels in promoting and supporting cycling.
- Thank You Note for Previous Donation (Within 7 Days). This award goes to any candidate or campaign that sends out a thank you note by email within 7 days of receiving a preliminary donation (sent on May 17).
- Support for Current Courthouse Annex Proposal. This award goes to any candidate who expressed support for the current courthouse annex proposal (as initially presented in a preliminary draft).
- Support for Jail Renovation/Expansion/Replacement. This award goes to any candidate who expressed support of renovating, expanding, or replacing our current jail (right now). Some candidates stated they would not support an investment in the jail until we see the impact of the courthouse annex to get an idea of what size might be necessary.
Issues Award Criteria – Categories Explained
The issues award criteria are based on bringing critical justice issues to the forefront of our community conversation. Certainly all candidates respond to questions about justice reform. However, these criteria focus on candidates who make justice reform and justice reinvestment their campaign platform and a reoccurring subject of letters to the editor.
It’s important to acknowledge that our current County Attorney, Janet Lyness, has worked hard to reduce our overall incarceration rate considerably — to the point that Johnson County is now ranked among the lowest incarceration rates in the world.
However, the issues criteria are not based on an incumbent’s success, but instead on a candidate’s ability to raise social awareness and community concern about justice services and related social issues. The issues criteria explore a candidate’s ability to challenge our thinking and to ask the question, “How can we do better?”
In this election, the following issues were elevated in the public dialog:
- Economic Disparity Impact
- Racial Disparity Impact
- Pretrial Detention Impact
- Victimless Offenses Evaluation
- Reducing Agressive Marijuana Criminal Enforcement
- Reducing Agressive Alcohol Criminal Enforcement
- Reviewing of Charges
- LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) – Brining in special speakers to present at public community events.
- Justice Reinvestment
The award for these categories was not split, but instead designated to the candidate seeming to be most vocal about these issues through their campaign platform and communications.
Awards Breakdown Table
The table below shows the breakdown of how the awards were distributed. This process was relatively unscientific based on communications from the various campaigns. So, some human error may exist. Preliminary awards were distributed on May 17, with additional awards distributed on May 24.* Click the table below for a larger view.
If you can think of a category that should be added, or if there’s anything else needing changes, please let us know. Thanks!
* Donations will be listed as from ResourcesForLife.com or Greg Johnson. These donations are being made from personal funds.
Mike Carberry was listed as not being in support of the Courthouse Annex proposal. In a public candidate forum on 12 May 2014, he stated that while he’s generally in favor of the Courthouse Annex, he felt the current proposal is too costly. In a subsequent question and answer session with the Press Citizen on 28 May 2014, he expressed full support of a plan were it to cost $30 million or less.