[I have ended my Campaign for Mayor of Prescott, as of the middle of May 2005.  I discovered
during my early days of the Campaign that more and more I was hampered by the natural
ignorance of not having lived in Prescott long enough.  Recognizing this as a fatal weakness
and not wanting to burdern the current election with someone (myself) who was not really
qualified, I ended the Campaign to devote myself to more appropriate local political activity]

Joel A.Wendt candidate for  Mayor of Prescott
e-mail  campaign@ipwebdev.com

primary election Tuesday September 13, 2005
general election, if necesary: Nov. 8th, 2005
last day to register to vote for the primary: August 15th, 2005
last day to register to vote for the general: October 10th, 2005
early voting is possible at: unknown at this time
effect of proposition 200: unknown at this time

seeking a true "government of the People, by the People and for the People"

short version of Platform

introduction to PIMA, or the
Prescott Independent Media Association

What's this election about?

    At a fundamental level its about the People of Prescott rediscovering their true power as citizens.  It is also about the failures of the current public officials of the City of Prescott, the current Mayor and Council.  The People of Prescott need to let all future public servants know that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.  Here are some details on the problem with the Granite Dells annexation.

    The problem of power cannot be emphasized enough.  Politicians, in the old ways, have led us to believe that our only power is in the vote, and so they seek to dominate and manipulate that process to their advantage.  Many of us have even come to believe them.

    The reality is that at every level of Government, from the National, to the State, and then to the local, the Citizen is the ultimate power.  We have been led away from understanding this, and the most profound thing we can do at any level of Government is to re-assert our rights as the foundation of that level of Government.  The National, and State Constitutions are all temporary grants of power from the People to the State and we can withdraw that grant any time we wish.  Even our Municipal Corporation, with its Home Rule basis, is a temporary grant of power.

    This election then is about our asserting our true power, and we can exercise this power best by taking hold of and determining, out of ourselves, the content of the public dialog.  Too long have the politicians, with their huge budgets for politicial advertising, been able to make us believe that the way they frame issues is the way we should think about them.  Now its our turn, to take back the content of the public conversation, and put our ideas and needs ahead of what politicians and their political operatives try to force us to believe.

    However, the major impediment to our taking hold of this dialog, is our having already allowed the politicians with their campaign of "wedge issues" to divide us, one against the other.  We need to find our true center again as a whole community in spite of these politician induced false divisions.  The fact is that whatever the future is to bring, we will have to face it together, and the wisdom that Lincoln paraphrased from Matthew 12:25: "a house divided against itself cannot stand.", needs to receive our utmost attention as we walk together into our shared political future.

    For this reason, I have made the cornerstone of my campaign the creation of meetings whose purpose is to support us in healing these divisions.  I want to be elected because I have done something that is valued, not because I have made some promises.

Who is Joel A. Wendt and why does he think he should be Mayor?

Basically I am a citizen of Prescott, who wants to offer himself as a future public servant of the People of Prescott.  I am not going to be making promises or seeking to persuade people to vote for me.  That's your choice and, more importantly, your responsibility.  I will tell you in this page, in person and anywhere else that seems appropriate, what I think about the future of Prescott, and our shared political life.  Then you decide.

    Since few people will know me, or have heard of me, it is reasonable to wonder whether I have any chance of being elected or whether I could really serve the People.  To answer such questions I have to toot my own horn a little bit, but we all know this is a necessary part of seeking public office - you have a right to know.

    A few background matters:  I am 64, was born in Great Falls, Montana, and educated in the Rockies (3 years USAF Academy, 1 year University of Denver to receive a pre-seminary B.A. in 1963, then 3 years University of Montana School of Law, at Missoula, to receive a J. D. degree in 1967).  Over the last 40 years I have mostly worked at raising five children (in two marriages): Marc, 42, works for George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County California; Doren, 38, teaches autistic children for the Los Angeles School system; Jennifer, 33, is a supervisor for the University of California Retirement System; Adam, 22, telecommutes from his home as a computer expert for a internet company; and Gabriella, 17, will graduate from Achieve Academy this May.   I've also worked at whatever work I could do to support my family.  I haven't been perfect in any role, and here is a link to a more detailed biography and work history.  Mostly I worked in the mental health industry as either an adolescent counsellor, and mental health worker, for a total of about 18 years.

    I have also been a student of America, its politics and its social and cultural history and reality.  For 16 years I was an unpaid fellow at the Center For American Studies at Concord.  This was my avocation, while I worked and raised children, mostly as a member of the economic class we call: working-poor.  My current business card reads: "social philosopher ... and occasional fool".

    I have thought and written extensively on social and political matters, from a spiritual perspective, and have three websites and a blog.  The main one is called: Shapes in the Fire.  The one on presidential politics and national social-political questions is: some thoughts on the nature of public life and an offer of service.  The one on Citizen Statesmanship is called: Celebration and Theater: a People's Art of Statecraft, while my blog is called Hermits Weblog: what your mother never told you about how the world really works.

    Here is a alphabetical index to all my writings, and here are some samples:

    If you are a poet, or like free verse: the gift of the word. (should be read aloud).  Here is a short story: Bicycles: a Children's Christmas Story for Adults  (a child spends some time with an Angel on Christmas Eve - also should be read aloud).  Here are a couple of essays on deep politics: Citizen Governance (on the future of the Republic) and  Re-imagining the Conduct of the Presidency  (on some differences between statecraft and politics), written in 2002 and 2003, respectively.   And, here is an essay on the beginnings of a new social science: Fundamentals of a New Social View.

What are the major issues in this campaign?

    The main general question is: What is going to be the future direction of Prescott?  The main choices are more of the same, that is more basically mindless and endless development and annexation, which really only benefits a few at the expense of the taxpayers of Prescott; or, are we going to find a more balanced direction, one which recognizes that a Community is not just an economy with businesses and jobs, but a Culture, with churches, charities, schools and most important, a sense of self linked wisely to a sense of place.  Far too much have we only had our local government emphasize the economic, while it barely tolerated and patronized the spiritual-cultural - our sense of who we are and what life means.

    The economic only sees us as workers and consumers, but we are a great deal more, and this human truth is even more valuable than our economic roles.

    A related main question is about water.  Wise management of our resources needs more than mere lip service from our public servants.  It needs actions, not words, and at the level of actions the Granite Dells annexation shows the real moral poverty of our established leaders.   The needs of a few developers were far more important than the problems and debts that were to be left to our children.

    Solving these problems, however, requires that we work together, and so behind the scenes of the issues regarding Prescott's economic and cultural future, is the social processes by which we heal the divisions fostered by the excessive use of wedge issues by leading politicians of all parities.

What are the minor issues of this campaign?

    These are not unimportant, it is just that the major issues form the basic structure of the debate, while the minor issues represent necessary details.  Here is a list provided by a small citizens group (was: Take Back Our Community; but is now Stand Up Prescott) that gave some careful thought to our needs (this is an early version of their work, and should not be considered fully accurate):

Purpose: We are citizens dedicated to maintaining Prescott's best
characteristics and improving the quality of life in Prescott by promoting
citizen awareness, advocating for citizen issues, and promoting and
assisting candidates who will accomplish this purpose.

Prescott's Economic Future

A strong Prescott will be based on a diverse and vital economy that serves
the needs and aspirations of the public. We need to encourage a sustainable
regional economy that does not depend on unsustainable overheated growth to
maintain jobs.

Small businesses generally produce greater job growth and innovation than
big businesses. Local businesses generally reinvest significantly more in
our community than do national corporations that remove most of their
profits from the area. We therefore support local small businesses.

Prescott is an attractive area for businesses. We should minimize the use of
incentives for attraction or maintenance businesses. Subsidizing retail
development is poor economic and fiscal policy. Building new stores does not
create new retail spending (only an increase in population or incomes can do
that), but simply re-divides the existing pie.

In order to encourage a sustainable economy, we support increased
educational efforts to promote technology in areas such as renewable energy,
energy efficient construction, and energy and water conservation.

We need to cooperate with neighboring jurisdictions on tax-sharing
agreements, instead of engaging in a bidding war giving away tax revenues

A large component of our economy is based on tourism. We need to encourage
this type of inflow of dollars into our economy especially by promoting eco
and cultural tourism.

All City workers, and all workers of companies contracted by the
City, should be paid at least enough to support a family at a basic level.
This would currently be at least $10 an hour. This provision will enable our
healthy economy to better serve more of our citizens.


We wish to create a community that conserves its unique and irreplaceable
natural and historic features by enacting rigorous development statutes,
ensuring new growth adapts to the characteristics its citizens have chosen.
In the past, Prescott needed to grow to provide for a measure of quality of
life for our citizens. Now, Prescott is a very desirable location to live
and to set up a business. Therefore, we now need to plan and control the
enormous growth demand to maintain our quality of life and community.

We need to stop asking ourselves what we can do
to encourage growth, and start asking if the growth that will occur will be
beneficial for the city.  We want healthy natural growth and not growth that
is stimulated by artificial incentives and competitive models.  The
citizens of Prescott want our city to retain its small-town feel. We do not
want overheated growth, with its attendant congestion and loss of quality of
life. Our existing and potential water supplies are severely limited. If
water supplies allow, we can maintain a moderate growth rate of no more than
1500 persons per year.

We oppose the annexation of the Granite Dells/Point of Rocks Ranches and
county portions of the Storm Ranch as presently constituted. We do not
oppose annexation of land within one mile of the airport's
approach/departure routes to encourage the area's industrial vitality.

New growth should pay full and fair impact fees to cover all costs
associated with the growth.

Workforce Housing

Most people who work in Prescott either struggle to live here or cannot live
here because they
don't earn enough money to afford the available housing. All candidates
should pledge to only support developments and multifamily projects seeking
re-zoning or other permits if they provide 20% of their units as
permanent "affordable housing" units.  All areas wishing annexation into the
City shall be required to provide such an amount of affordable housing
units. These homes would be set aside (based on income requirements) for
workers such as teachers, firefighters, and others who are needed in our

The entire community benefits when housing is affordable to all
socioeconomic levels.

Social Services

There are large numbers of homeless persons in the Prescott area.  The
reasons for their homelessness are as varied as the homeless persons
themselves. Many homeless people work full time jobs, but because of many
circumstances, find it temporarily impossible to obtain housing. Some other
reasons for homelessness include the loss and unavailability of jobs, mental
illness and other disabilities, and drug and alcohol addiction.

In cooperation with other neighboring jurisdictions and other funding and
service agencies, the city should help fund and staff a homeless shelter
where people with no money could have a warm, dry place to sleep.

De-tox centers are recognized by the American Medical Association as a
necessary medical service for any community. In cooperation with other
neighboring jurisdictions and other funding agencies, the city should
provide a de-tox center to provide safe services to deal with this potential
medical emergency.


We believe that a compassionate and vital community cherishes its youth and
stewards their social development, informing and motivating them by
intelligently cultivating and distributing its cultural resources.

We support innovative creative partnerships and collaborations among diverse
community groups (individuals, institutions and businesses) to enhance
educational activities and opportunities for our youth - and cultural
experiences for all.

The last fifty years have demonstrated that arts and humanities are a major
component of the cultural fiber of our city. Many of our most outstanding
citizens have been artists and have played a significant role in the history
of our city. Therefore civic support for the arts is an important function
of our city. It enhances our tourism economy and improves our quality of
life. Prescott should follow the lead of neighboring communities and budget
increased amounts towards Cultural expansion, as well as implement the
popular "1% for Arts" initiative,
applied to all new civic and commercial development projects. The City
should add a staff position to help coordinate development, promotion, and
operation of arts and humanities.

We support prompt city construction of the much-delayed skate park. The
children of our community should not have to beg to get the city to provide
such a needed public recreation facility.

Regional Planning and Cooperation

Prescott doesn't exist in an economic or environmental vacuum.   Many needs
have to be dealt with on a regional basis, such as growth management, water,
traffic, and economic development.  Mass transportation problems (a bus
system) will be better solved by the whole, and not just the part.

We need cooperation -- not competition -- in order to most efficiently serve
the public's needs.

Water Policy

The City should work with the other jurisdictions in the Prescott Active
Management Area to develop and implement a plan to reach safe yield soon. To
encourage conservation and efficiency, more stringent per capita water use
levels should be established, and all or a large part of the savings from
this conservation should be required to go to permanent recharge. All or a
large part of alternative waters (including recharged effluent) should be
used to achieve safe yield. The City Council should pass a resolution to
encourage the legislature to enact laws that will mandate safe yield,
regulate exempt wells and provide enforcement mechanisms for the Prescott

Electoral Reform

We support instant run-off voting for City elections. This will save the
City a considerable amount of money. It will also save candidates
considerable amounts of money and time. This reform would therefore
encourage more good candidates to seek public office.

We support a program for the City to mail informational election brochures
to each qualified voter. Every candidate will be allowed a certain number of
words to explain their candidacy.

Government Transparency, Openness, and Citizen Involvement

The City should work to maximize citizen involvement in city affairs by
enhancing public information and education efforts. We believe City
information should be open to the public to a maximum extent. Even meetings
that are not covered by the Open Meeting Law should be
open to the public as much as reasonably possible. The City should take
positive actions to notify the public of all upcoming meetings and relevant
information about the agendas of the meetings, in order to maximize citizen
participation. Citizen Advisory Committees have been effective and should be
expanded into additional issue areas. We are concerned about excessive use of the
Emergency Clause by the Council. Any time it is necessary the use, the
reasons should be fully explained to the public well in advance of the vote.

How do we go about  bringing the needed changes?

    In the essay noted above, Citizen Governance and the future of the Republic, I pointed out the need to distinguish ends and means.  We will have a more healthy shared political life if we concentrate on how we go about getting where we need to go, with not so much emphasis on a particular end.

    The more we emphasis a particular end, the more we divide ourselves.  The more we concentrate on how we go forward, what is our means, the more we face the problem of our current state of division at the hands of too many self-serving politicians.  This means that the first stage in moving forward is getting together and finding those matters on which we can unify, instead of focusing on those ends which divide us.

    This will be hard work, and a main aspect of this campaign and its meetings will be to foster exactly these kinds of public dialogs, in which what the citizens have to say to each other is more important than what the office-seeking public servant thinks.  In these meetings, I will spend more time listening than speaking.

    We have a far more profound power than the vote, which is the dialog - the discussion among ourselves of what is the right way for Governments to behave, what are our needs as against the needs of a few developers, and what we want the future course of Prescott to be.  With that power over the conversation, we change everything, for now the politician has to follow our lead, and show by actions, not just words, that he or she intends to be a true public servant.

Here is some material from an e-mail I sent seeking support:

          I intend to run a very different campaign from the usual, seeking to work more strongly at helping the citizens of Prescott appreciate their real power, and to begin to work together in spite of the divisions fostered through the excessive use of wedge issues by recent national political campaigns.  I see our deepest need as learning to appreciate each other in spite of differences, because it is only as a working whole that we will be able to meet the problems coming toward us in the future.

        Because of this, the meeting on the 16th [the first public meeting, held in April], which will be the model for all later functions, will only involve my speaking for 15 to 20 minutes about how a citizen might offer an independent view of the State of the Union, followed by most of the time being taken up with the citizens having conversation with each other.  I consider our conversations with each other to be the key to a more healthy politics, and therefore helping such conversations arise is the main trust of my coming campaign.

        I want, in this way, to earn your votes by actions, rather than to seduce you with promises or words.

        The conversation will be directed toward an end, to a degree.  The hope for that end is that after some straight talk encounters with each other, those attending will be willing to join more long lasting groups, perhaps networked to each other, so that the conversation can continue, and people can find a common basis for action and participation.

        Since we are at the very beginning of something, it is difficult to imagine what might arise, but it is my belief that we can not only have regular meetings in which we share our concerns and intelligence, but networks of these meetings, so that the whole can become greater than the parts.  Each small group can produce material it shares with other groups, along independently created lines of communication, so that, in effect, we give birth in Prescott to a true people-based
alternative media.  Instead of being dependent upon TV or the local paper, we create our own means of internal communication for the purpose of strengthening our sense of community.

        Each group, or individual, can be a source of ideas and wisdom, and the network can transmit only that which it finds helpful.  Each node or group can pass on, or not, according to how it values what it has received.  In this way, only those materials which serve the whole will succeed in reaching the complete network of groups and individuals.

        Groups who want to divide, or accuse, or dismiss, will find their work not being passed along.  Those who work more positively, and with the goal of serving the whole, will find their material spreading easily within the community.

        Since the transmission pathways will not themselves be organized, material can arrive at the same places through quite independent routes.  Questions and additions can be passed back and forth.  Groups can invite other groups to larger meetings, resolve conflicts and then create new material to offer to the whole.

        In a way, this is very much like the open source model which has been so successful on the internet (for those who have heard of this work).  We are here just copying this already proven method of building something viable out of the free initiative of interconnected individual and group sources.
What are some examples of possible new directions and how will new and differently minded public servants act so as to bring about the true will of the People of Prescott?

Here are some ideas I have had, which are only offered as possible examples (the url link goes to more details):

Elder Wisdom: Prescott has a large retired population, have we under utilized this resource?

What is the idea of sustainability and how does it apply to Prescott?  There is much thinking that has been done by many experts concerning how to combine intelligent resource management with quality of life goals.  Is there a better way to preserve water?  Can a sewage treatment be more efficient?  What do we do with open spaces?  In the url above will be listed some links to websites that examine this problem in detail.

Some quotes from my writings:

"A representative form of government is only truly representative to the extent those who empower it - that is the People - know the truth."

"The only real coin of any value, passed between the citizens of a Nation and their public servants, is the truth.  With that coin in circulation, nothing is impossible to such a People, for truth leads to trust, and it is mutual trust that binds us together into a Whole."

"Most politics is the manipulation of public life for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.  While, citizen governance - that is true citizen statesmanship - is the calling to public service of a few by the many for the benefit of the many."

"What then do we seek? Do we want a civilization dominated by self interest, and driven by fear of the other? Do we want an America known for its materialism and is racism? Will we leave to the power seeking politician the determination of the content of the political dialogue? Or will we really be free? Not just free to buy and sell, but free, as well, to become? For there is no true self government, in a political sense, if there is not an equal proportion of self governing by the individual, of himself, in a moral sense."

copies of various papers, letters and notes that were part of campaign