By Michael Haran
Published Healdsburg Tribune 8/11/2011
I ran into Mike McGuire the other day at the First Annual Healdsburg Water Carnival. He asked how I was doing and we chatted about county politics for a few minutes until another constituent came up and wanted to thank him for something. Knowing that his time is limited at these public affairs I excused myself and walked on.
I first met Mike and his wife Erika a few years ago at the Kiwanis pancake breakfast at the Villa when they sat down across from my wife and me. I recognized him from the city council articles in the Tribune. He introduced himself and Erika and then wanted to know about us. I felt his interest sincere.
Sometime in early 2010 I ran into him at Amoruso Printing. I had been working on a project to sell wine in China and when I told him a little about it he wanted to know all about it. So we scheduled a coffee and met at the Goat. Having taken a couple of poly-sci courses at Sonoma State in the early 70’s I was eager to give him my two cents on how he could win his upcoming election.
I had one issue to talk to him about which I call “pothole politics.” He listened intently as I explained the theory of the lowest common denominator. If he knew about it he didn’t let on and let me finish talking. Judging from his margin of victory I think he knew very well about this theory.
In the fall of 2010, I attended Mike’s debate with Debra Fudge at the Raven Theater. As Mike announced the endorsement of several business and civic groups Debra criticized him for seeking those endorsements. Mike responded that Debra had also pursued those endorsements. She continued by asking him how he intended to handle any conflict of interest in dealing with such diverse groups. He paused for a moment, turned toward Debra and, almost under his breath said to her, “Don’t worry, it’ll be alright.”
This amazed me. It was as if Mike thought that Debra was sincerely worried about this and his initial reaction was to reassure a worried constituent. I think this goes back to his days on the Healdsburg School Board where he developed his people skills. As Pat Wyman said in an article on Mike soon after he was elected, “If you know McGuire at all, you know how much he loves one-on-one meetings and how accessible he is.” It should be mandatory for every politician to spend some time on a local school board.
His election to the Board of Supervisors comes at a time of extreme austerity. He has to deal with SMART extensions, education, the increased demand for senior care, jobs, pension reform, education, clean air, housing and the homeless and all on a shrinking revenue base. He is new to this and his challenges are many but Mike McGuire is a unique individual and with his work ethic I really do believe that “it will be alright.” And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that feels this way.Read More