Sunday, September 16, 2007
My sister Liz and I went to a Ward Four Democratic Committee event yesterday at the Cozy Cafe. The event was a forum for candidates for City Council and School Committee. Each candidate was asked his or her position on ward representation, which most likely will appear on the November 6 municipal ballot.
Seven of the nine current city councilors voted in favor of ward representation last October, with Bud Williams and Tim Rooke dissenting. Yesterday's forum gave some of the incumbents a chance to reiterate their support. All but one of yesterday's non-incumbents supported ward representation, although some wished the version-- eight from wards, five at large--was stronger-- Bob Underwood, Vera O'Connor, Jacob Bennett, Lorenzo Gaines, Chris Collins, Clodo Concepcion, Mo Jones, Pat Markey, Orlando Santiago, Hamilton Wray, Gloria DiPhillipo. Karen Powell was the sole "No" vote of those present. Mayoral candidate Dom Sarno reminded us he voted in favor in October.
After twelve years of fighting for ward representation (that's just Arise, some have been fighting much longer), we are finally close to success.
I looked around the forum yesterday and saw a number of excellent candidates for office. Most of them don't have a snowman's chance in hell to be elected. In two years, everything could be different.
Oliverio Designs updated a map showing where elected city councilors have lived for the past 10 years, and it pretty much speaks for itself.
The most common argument against ward representation usually starts with "those people." If "those people" worked harder, came out to vote, etc., people from the un- or underrepresented wards could get candidates elected. But whether it's true or not is not the point. If we can bring down the barrier that makes so many people feel that voting is a pointless exercise, let's do it! Giving more people a greater stake in our city's well-being can only benefit all of us.