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Campaign Competency In Gainesville

By Greg L | 26 June 2011 | Prince William County | 15 Comments

If a campaign is like a job interview, then in modern politics an internet presence might well be the equivalent of a cover letter.  Some candidates make the cut to the interview stage based on how well they express themselves, but for some a badly-written letter or the apparent inability of a candidate to supply one pretty much knocks them out of the competition.  The candidates running for the Republican nomination for Gainesville Supervisor cover the whole gamut from nonexistent, to ridiculous, to probably incompetent, and all the way to highly qualified and it takes very little time to sort out who is who.  In a five candidate field, this makes it very easy to sort out who deserves consideration.

Let’s start with those who are doing the best job at demonstrating that they’re serious, qualified and arguably competent.

Hitting the Mark: Martha Hendley and Pete Candland.

Both of these candidates have a professional website and are engaging like serious candidates in social media sites.

Candland’s website is professional and polished, offering the usual mix of content and brevity which is a little short on details but entirely consistent with modern campaigns.  He’s got 106 “likes” on his facebook campaign page and no twitter account.  Not a perfect display, but pretty close to it especially given this is a supervisor’s race.  Candland gets top honors for presenting himself as a serious contender and having the most professional looking campaign.  He gets an interview.

Martha Hendley’s website is also professional and polished, populated with the same conservatively written information on issues and experience, again entirely consistent with what competent campaigns do.  She has a new campaign facebook page with only one “like”, but having something that hasn’t officially launched is better than having nothing.  I’m sure she’ll have a good following in short order.  Again, there’s no twitter account.  Hendley ranks just a small notch below, but still solidly qualifies for an interview.

Candidates that make you go huh?: Steve Botello and Michael High

Sometimes the wrong internet presence does more harm than good.  These two are case studies.

While visually Botello’s website is good, the content makes you scratch your head.  The banner “tagline” is “General Prince William Republican Party Political.”  I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, and I doubt anyone else does either.  The front page is littered with grammatical errors suggesting no one ever bothered to proofread the website.  Photos on the site cut off his head, the verbiage is rather strange, and the site overall does more harm than good for his campaign as it makes him appear educationally unqualified for the office.  Botello has eleven followers on his campaign facebook page which he updates very regularly.  No twitter account (correction: Steve tells me he’s using @SBotelloGS and there are 86 followers — not bad).  Botello is not going to get called for an interview, but will get a polite note about keeping his resume on file.

Michael High is another candidate with an awfully strange campaign website. It features one of those easily recognized default “Website Tonight” do-it-yourself website themes, but since he urges supporters not to donate money to his campaign it’s seems someone obvious that he’s not donating to his campaign either and can’t afford to actually present himself professionally.  Back in the day these were the folks who sent photocopied resumes to employers rather than bothering to have them professionally printed because they didn’t care all that much about how they presented themselves.  The content isn’t awful, but it’s pointless and irrelevant, demonstrating no competency with the position he is seeking.  There’s no facebook or twitter presence as far as I could tell.  Not only is High not getting an interview, I doubt he’s even getting a polite letter.

The no-show: Suzanne Miller

Despite promising us she’d have a website up well over a week ago, she doesn’t.  I’m not that surprised, actually.  If you don’t bother to apply for the job, you’re probably not going to get an interview, and when people google her name they’re not going to find a whole lot of positive things about her on the internet.  She has a personal facebook page but no campaign facebook page.  As far as campaigns go, this one remains the poster child for ineffectiveness and incompetence, even though this is the campaign that’s claiming the highest levels of educational accomplishment among all the candidates.

So why does this all matter?  Think of the electorate in Gainesville.  About two-thirds of job-holders in this district commute out of the county to professional jobs closer in to Washington, many of which involve to some degree information technology, management and marketing.  To make these voters think they’re qualified to be in public office, candidates need to make themselves look at least as competent as the electorate.  If you ask someone with twenty year’s experience in information technology to vote for you and your website doesn’t exist or is utterly sophomoric, you cannot earn their vote.  Period.  It’s unrealistic to think you can ask someone to vote for you when they think they’re a lot more competent and professional than you are.

Some candidates seem to understand the electorate and are putting their best foot forward.  Some increasingly demonstrate they have no business being in politics as they either can’t execute a campaign or seem to find someone who can do that on their behalf.  Either of those are thorough disqualifications which will, or at least should, bar them from public office and I fully expect to see that play out in this race.

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  1. Dave in PWC said on 26 Jun 2011 at 7:43 pm:
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    My issue is the illegal immigrants in the county and I don’t see anything to make me want to vote for any of the candidates. Some say they support the rule of law, but since it was watered down I think it’s useless since ICE releases the illegals back into the community. What say you candidates if yoiu follow this website?

  2. Steve Botello said on 27 Jun 2011 at 10:10 am:
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    Greg, my Twitter account is: @SBotelloGS and has been active for about two weeks or so and I’ve been using it. Thank you for the feedback on the website. It is being worked as we speak.

    On the illegal immigration question asked by Dave.

    Supporting the Rule of Law Resolution and work of the Board of Supervisors in this matter is imperative. During 2007 – 2008 when this issue was being considered and eventually passed here in Prince William County Steve was there assisting both John Stirrup and Corey Stewart.

    When it was needed most in support of this action I gave freely of my time and effort as a general worker and aid even passing out press releases on several occasions on behalf of Corey Stewart to the on hand media. The long-term continued support of this law and the denying of a safe haven for criminal illegal aliens in imperative for the citizens of the Gainesville District.

    I don’t know how much more clear that needs to be.

    Have a good day, Steve

  3. jon wong said on 28 Jun 2011 at 3:44 am:
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    OK…who make joke? Pretty funny… who never pass jr hi english?

  4. Anonymous said on 28 Jun 2011 at 7:00 am:
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    Ummmm Stewart….he was one of those pushing for a crackdown on the people hiring illegals…right?

  5. Rob Duecaster said on 28 Jun 2011 at 8:07 am:
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    You’re a good guy and I here you’ve handled the homeowners’ association you’ve been with quite well, but I’ve got to tell you, buddy, when the fecal matter was hitting the fan in 2007 and the battle lines were drawn, I did not see you fighting the good fight against the illegal invaders. Maybe you were behind the scenes, but you weren’t on the front lines with us. As a matter of fact, I got the distinct impression you wanted to avoid that issue so as to have plausible deniability in the event the apologist crowd attracted the support of citizenry (”fat” chance). Better late than never. Welcome to our side of the fence.

  6. Harry said on 28 Jun 2011 at 1:47 pm:
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    Hear (ha ha) I thought we were talking about website marketing. :-)

    The issue Greg brings up is perfectly valid. While we certainly can’t use a web presence by itself to make sweeping judgements about a candidate, it does tell an important story, both in terms of the local races and for the Republican Party at large.

    It is clear to me that the GOP - at all levels - has a marketing problem. We cannot use marketing tactics from 30 years ago to further our message today. To be successful we need to take a set of principles and through them create a concise message, and then set about using a thoughtful marketing plan to get the message out.

    In today’s world, that means:

    1) A website to serve as a hub for all new information
    2) Facebook to develop relationships with constituents and prospective party members
    3) Twitter for rapid dissemination of information and to tie the web properties together
    4) Online press releases using PRWeb to push activity and newsworthy events to news outlets
    5) Online/email outreach to build party membership
    6) Constant feedback loops vis a vis media that are actually being used

    To date, the GOP at all levels - county, state and federal - have been just abysmal in their efforts to use the new media.

    I am one of the people Greg refers to - I work in Internet technology. And I bet that many of you are like me: if it is not online, it doesn’t exist.

    This is simple: For a candidate to succeed, he must embrace new media. If the party itself is to succeed - it also must.

  7. Dave in PWC said on 29 Jun 2011 at 7:15 am:
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    Thanks Steve for responding to my question. I live in the Gainesville district. I would really like the Coverstone 7-11 area cleaned up, every morning there are between 30 - 40 day laborers hanging out on public and private property. Our Chief of Police isn’t doing a thing about the loitering other than once in a while a car goes by and tells them to get off private property. What can you do to help get them out of there? Every time I stop there to get coffee I get surrounded and some even hop into the back of my truck expecting me to hire them. Can you go after the folks hiring them?

  8. Patty said on 29 Jun 2011 at 8:42 am:
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    I think the Prince William County police are too busy patrolling Lake Manassas to do anything about Coverstone.


    It appears the PWC Police are now helping the City of Manassas enforce the no fishing policy at Lake Manassas.

  9. Maureen said on 1 Jul 2011 at 4:35 am:
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    Steve I would like you to explain to those of us that actually were helping to get the “Rule of Law” resolution passed exactly how you helped out.

    I was very involved from say one and I never saw you at all. Never heard you at all. I’m not even sure that you came to speak at citizens time.

    It’s all well and good to say you support what PWC has done it’s another thing to embellish your role in it.

    So I personally would like you to explain yourself here.

  10. Maureen said on 1 Jul 2011 at 4:36 am:
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    That shOuld say day one.

  11. Steven Botello said on 3 Jul 2011 at 3:07 pm:
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    Thank you for recognizing the incredible amount of tireless work our HOA Board (yes, where I was the President…leading the action) put into all of our association issues including handling and dealing with the illegal immigration issue(s) at the HOA level also…you may have missed that. Years before 2007…When there are 10, 15 and in some cases up to 30 people living in a single townhome(s) (4-5 families in a home designed for 1 family) on our property and being transported in & out of the property at night, in groups, by whomever, for whatever purposes…yes I was there and trying to solve it…you may have missed that. When both Stirrup and Stewart needed support, information and strong presence I was there to help…you may have missed that. Perhaps when the lines for public comment were in the hundreds and went to 2-3 in the morning you may have missed both my presence in the audience and my speaking at citizens time. Perhaps when I was a Police Officer in CA almost two decades ago stopping, detaining and arresting criminals (many of whom were illegal aliens) and I was not allowed to detain nor arrest them for just being here illegally and INS would not take them for a variety of reasons such as their offices closed at 5 PM or they could not spare the Agents or they had no place to put them because they were already full….you may have missed that.

    Welcome to my side of the fence.

  12. Steven Botello said on 3 Jul 2011 at 3:22 pm:
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    In response to your question: I actually go by that way a lot since I both walk that area of PWC a great deal and also go to the Home Depot/Pizza Hut there. I agree with you completely. The one thing I’ve noticed in the past year or so is the total number of persons has dropped significantly to maybe two dozen from the 50-60 or more in the past. I like both your idea of going after the persons employing them (I believe that has real value) AND shall we say… “inspiring”… local, state and Federal LE agencies to continue to act as aggressively as the law allows to enforce our general laws (Loiter, property damage, etc.) and use the 287G initiative (which as you know only works after they’ve been arrested for a criminal act). My belief, if we agree to AND apply as much pressure at all points that we legally can…the results we achieve will continue to be in our favor. What do you think?



  13. Maureen said on 4 Jul 2011 at 6:16 am:
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    Steve thanks for your clarification.

    The reason there are fewer day labors in the Coverstone area is because of the hard work of Help Save Manassas. We worked tirelessly for months with the property owners to get them to sign an agreement with the PWC police so that the police could enforce the no trespassing laws.

  14. Dave in PWC said on 4 Jul 2011 at 8:16 pm:
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    You are correct the flock has thinned a bit at the Coverstone 7-11, but the area is still getting trashed and no grass is growing on that area, they are still on the 7-11 property and still on the vacant building beside the 7-11, they sit underneath a no trespassing sign and I can’t believe that our local LEO’s won’t snap them up when they drive by seeing that. So that tells me the higher ups in Law Enforcement don’t want to enfore the laws. What will you do if you are elected with senior Law Enforcement and enforcing the laws on the books?


    Dave in PWC

  15. Steven Botello said on 14 Jul 2011 at 10:25 pm:
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    Tell ya what… please feel free to call my campaign number at 1-703-335-9013 and/or email me at botelloforgainesvillesupervisor@comcast.net and lets discuss any ideas, thoughts or possible solution(s) you might have.

    I’m open to any legal idea(s) that can be used to assist us in solving this problem for the long term.

    Thank you,

    Steve Botello

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