Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A little free advice in hopes politician stays where he belongs

Offering free advice is something I am good at. So is ending sentences with prepositions, but that is an entirely different matter.

The problem with my giving advice is that people usually don’t take it. Or, even worse, they sneer at it, or even laugh it.

Political advice is different. The trick is to charge for it. Then the recipient will listen. Usually.

I recently offered some free political advice to my good friend Dan Troy, and he neither sneered, scoffed nor laughed. And it was free.

He knew that it was not only free, it was also sincere and heartfelt. Will he follow it? Only he knows for sure. But I hope he does.

Our conversation was at the conclusion of dinner following the Lakeland Foundation golf outing at St. Denis Golf Course in Chardon.

Remember, Dan is a long-time Lake County commissioner, but as a youth he was a member of Willowick City Council and was elected for an eternity to the Ohio House of Representatives, a position at which he rose to such eminence that, except for the dreaded term limits, he could probably been elected speaker of the House.

Yes, he is that good at politics, not to mention administering good government. And his mind is so attuned to the workings of government (he remembers even the tiniest details of every bill that ever came before the House during his tenure) that making reasoned decisions is second nature to him.

Let me insert this as a footnote, or as a bodynote, so to speak: I have closely observed the workings of the Lake County commissioners since about 1950, give or take a year. And I have stated in public before that Dan is one of the three best commissioners I have ever seen in action. And that covers many dozens of commissioners.

(The other two, in case you were wondering, were Bill Stanton and Jack Platz. But I digress.)

I am telling you of our conversation after the golf outing because Dan can’t get the notion of running for Congress out of his head. Every once in a while (perhaps twice in a while) the thought recurs.

And he thinks things like, “I would never have run against Steve LaTourette. But the guy who followed him, Dave Joyce, is a first-termer, and maybe, just maybe...”

My advice to Dan is — in no uncertain terms — forget about it.

Two things: First, you are a terrific commissioner, and you are needed —you are needed very much — exactly where you are.

Nothing against the other two commissioners. They are nice people. But they are no Dan Troys. If the taxpayers don’t appreciate that, they should.

Dan simply can’t be spared from the board of commissioners. He is vitally needed there, especially since the retirement of Ray Sines from the board.

Ray, like Dan, was an exceptional state representative. Then he was an exceptional county commissioner. But he is gone now. There is no balance on the board. Ray gave it balance by being the only Republican member. Now all three are Democrats. So how can you find balance in that equation?

Well, I can find it. Dan gives a sort of balance that is not explainable in political terms. It is some other kind of balance.

It is difficult to explain without writing a book on the subject. And I am not about to write any books until I complete my memoirs on the Steele murder case, the Mounds Club robbery and the Summer of ‘57 at the beach.

But let’s not forget the second “thing” that I mentioned above: Dave Joyce may be a freshman in Washington, but he would be no pushover to beat next year, no matter who runs against him.

He is, to use the same adjective I used in describing Dan, a terrific congressman.

I have studied, as our congressmen, Frances Bolton, Ollie Bolton, Bill Stanton, Dennis Eckart, Steve LaTourette, and yes, even Eric Fingerhut.

Dave Joyce has gotten off to as good a start as any of them. Emphasize that. Any of them.

The former Geauga County prosecutor is smart, articulate, charming, witty, universally liked, has tremendous depth of knowledge and understanding of every issue facing the country, and has common sense answers for dealing with them.

I would trust him to make the proper choice on any issue. I have seen him speak three times in the past few weeks, and he can hold an audience in the palm of his hand.

And – this is very important to anyone in politics –  boy, does he know how to raise money!

So Dan, forget about Washington. Just think about staying in Painesville. Voters who care need both you and Dave – right where you are.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously have never heard this guy speak. This guy says a lot but never says anything of substance.

July 1, 2013 at 6:19 PM 

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