This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focussed on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...
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Ever since I became aware that Scott Chartier became a candidate for Schoolcraft County Commissioner, District 4, I have wondered "Who is Scott Chartier?", and "Why is he running for office?". After some 15 years of attention to local politics, his name meant nothing to me.
Now, a few days before the November 2 election, I have no knowledge that I have seen him. I still do not know who he is and what he represents, by first hand observation of his actions, words, and involvement in local public governmental issues.
At the candidate forum of 07/15/04, candidate Scott Chartier chose not to participate, or provide a public reason for his absence. The attending public could not consider or evaluate, his knowledge, skills and abilities in the context of the following discussions concerning issues effecting Schoolcraft County. After the forum was closed by the moderators, Dr. Shoenow, a major influence at Schoolcraft County Memorial Hospital, Chairman of the Schoolcraft County Republican Party, local power broker, and a man with political aspirations of his own, handed a "document" to one of the candidate moderators, Paul Olson, managing editor of Manistique's Pioneer Tribune newspaper. I do not know the contents of the document.
The following week, a letter to the editor was published, in the Pioneer Tribune, above Chartier's name, that consisted of generic county political goals that, from my perspective, could be quoted, with little change, in almost any county of the U.S. A sixth grader could have written it. At the time I read the letter, I hoped that it was not Chartier's.
I do not know why the Pioneer Tribune chose to print a vague political platform letter, from a candidate that did not show up for the forum, did not inform the media of his intended absence, did not have a vocal representative at the candidate forum. As Paul Olson stated, at the candidate forum, all the candidates had enough time to respond to the media requests.
Consequentially, I perceived preferential treatment, with the newspaper's blessing, of one candidate that avoided the heat of the forum.
From the time it became public knowledge that Scott Chartier was a legitimate candidate for Schoolcraft County Commissioner, District 4, to the publication of the 10/28/04 Pioneer Tribune I kept my eyes and ears open for any first person clue to his existence, credentials, knowledge and involvement in Schoolcraft County government affairs. I attended numerous meetings, and, regarding many of those I missed, I inquired of Scott's presence, and involvement. I am aware of no public meeting attended by Scott, while, at the same time, other candidates showed up at some of them. To me, candidate "Scott Chartier" was conspicuous by his absence from public involvement in local governmental matters.
As a great "invisible man" candidate, I finally spotted apparent evidence of him in the 10/28/04 edition of the Pioneer Tribune. Questions to, and answers from, various candidates appeared in that edition, including answers from an individual identified as Scott Chartier, who, I assume, acquired most of his knowledge to answer the questions through the filter of other folks' perception, reporting skills and pen. I have no first hand reason to believe otherwise.
No one has offered any reports, to me, that, since his candidacy, he attended any local government functions, in person.
Today, at 10/29/04, 11:44 A.M., I cannot say, with certainty, that Scott Chartier exists. To the best of my knowledge, while mixing it up in the public arena, I have never seen the entity called Scott Chartier. In my local travels I have bumped into the YETI, but candidate Chartier has proved to be far more elusive. No tracks, no scats, no sightings, no rumors, - nothing but scattered political ads in the name of anonymous faceless payers; until the publication of the 10/29/04 edition of the Pioneer Tribune, five days before the election.
That edition contained political statements attributed to Scott Chartier, with no biographical information and no campaign or platform information. That edition contained a display add indicating the endorsement of candidate Chartier by "Schoolcraft County Republicans"; an anonymous endorsement, by faceless people, with agendas unknown, with a reason to pay the bills.
What is the motive for anonymous interests to back an invisible candidate?
At the moment, in light of my personal observations, I can only conclude that candidate Scott Chartier is a reluctant candidate for others in the shadows of Schoolcraft County politics that hope to gain some degree of power through him. Whatever his role, he has shown me no enthusiasm for the part, that I have witnessed; for all the money spent on campaign advertising.
Scott Chartier, "The invisible Candidate", was elected by a plurality of Schoolcraft County voters as the new Commissioner for District 4.
I cannot congratulate Scott, because he did not earn it.
I hope to hear of Mr. Chartier's tireless dedication to the general public interest in Schoolcraft County, as was displayed by Commissioner Erickson, before his removal from office by unknown faces, with unknown agendas.
Serve your masters well, Scott.
This article reads like something from a Hollywood script, concerning Latin American politics.