Friday, October 22, 2010

A bit on Scott Stewart's challenger Kevin Mattocks

It's no secret that Scott Stewart is the only member of the PCC governing board who works in the private sector or even has a strong private-sector background.

Kevin Mattocks, his opponent, also has a bit of a private sector background, but for the most part has worked as a policeman, first in Mesa, then in Oro Valley. Recently he has been head of the FOP, one of the police unions. Stewart (see below) believes him to be the government employee union candidate, and knowing Stewart (and knowing Stewart to be honest to the point where one would mistake him for a Quaker) I'd be very surprised were this were an exaggeration. Indeed, Mattocks confirms the narrative, perhaps inadvertently, on his own website:
I had many discussions with my twin brother who works as a police officer with Pima Community College. The employees of the college learned of my enthusiasm and eligibility to run for this position in district 4. They met with me and talked me into running.
(emphasis mine). Not requests from community leaders, not even faculty and students, and certainly not any intrinsic interest in the position motivated Mattocks: college employees, perhaps perturbed that Stewart backed a 40-hour work week, asked him.

Government employee union candidate or not, what has struck be about Mattocks is his vacuity. Why is he running? He doesn't say. What does he want to do differently? The best we find on his website:
I believe in personal responsibility, family first, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American and Christian values and a strong national defense. I believe the role of government should provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. I ask for your support and your financial support as I continue my election. I have never planned or run an election nor do I consider myself a politician. I appreciate your interest in my success.

How any of this translates to PCC Governing Board policy is anybody's guess. He goes on a bit:


Accountability with our Tax Dollars

Affordable and Accessible Community College Education

Public Safety

Improvement of Adult Education Programs

Community Development

And the second version of the website, although more polished, also lacks concrete statements about PCC or county policy.

I do not attend PCC governing board meetings so I cannot speak to how much interest Mattocks has shown in the month-to-month concerns of that body. But his website and his non-existent statements to the press appear to indicate either that he is uninterested (i.e. he was put up to this), that he hasn't researched the issues at all, or that he hasn't a clue about the PCC governing board's concerns and the compromises they must make with each other and with reality and thus has no policy ideas at all.

It would be small of me to argue that Stewart is a better choice because he is a highly educated engineer and his opponent is a police officer whose regard for intellect may or may not be signaled by his writing on that first website. Surely an "everyman" can also act to advance higher education; in the American tradition millions of "everyman" parents, for several generations, have done so by encouraging and pushing their children to hit the books and go to college. But whereas Stewart has much to say about the value of education to the individual and the public and specifically about the role of the community college, conspicuously missing from Mattocks's (few) statements concerning his run for office are any discussion of education. Not even the vapid Congressional "I support education and the children..." Nothing.

I ask again, and will be far nastier about it than the ever-polite Stewart: Why is Mattocks running? He appears to have no interest in the position, to bring nothing to the race, and if elected it does not appear that he will bring anything to the seat except his rear end. It is not up to us to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's up to him to convince us, to share with us his ideas and the way he thinks about policy. He's not even trying to do so.

From Stewart's website:
A short statement about my opponent

For twelve years now I've worked to take care of the Pima College staff in both good times and bad. In fact, I've almost always been the board member to publicly defend our employees’ compensation package. This year, however, I have opposition from the government employee union sector. Personally, I believe my opponent was recruited by Pima's union leadership because of the manner in which we have dealt with recent funding cuts. Let me explain why I think this.

Like everyone else, we have to do more with less. However, instead of instituting layoffs and furloughs we've expanded our workweek from 37.5 hours to 40 and cut pay 2.7% per hour (resulting in 4% more pay per week). Unfortunately, the union leadership sees only more hours for less money per hour. They have even publicly complained about the hardships of the 40-hour workweek – this at a time when many folks in the community have lost their jobs!

I have met my opponent and he's an intelligent and positive man. Nonetheless, I believe his background as a government employee and a government employee union representative could very well change the board from one that looks out for the community first to one that first looks out for college employees first. Naturally, I believe we have to take care of the employees but our primary mission is to serve this community FIRST and foremost.

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