Belated thanks to all those who attended last evening's second meet 'n' greet, especially the five candidates, who are to be commended for taking the the time to share their views and listen to ours.
If you’re just tuning in, it’s a city election year in New Albany, and the anticipated scrum is widening as the filing period for May’s primary counts down toward its deadline.
One need possess only the most superficial appreciation for the rules of political gamesmanship to understand that during such times, there is a disorienting, swarming effect as aspirants rush to forge alliances, recruit backing, scratch backs and secure their most vital of currencies, the promise of your vote.
This process would be alternately infuriating and exhilarating even if the political life of the city were rigidly confined by the traditional two-party system, but this year’s computational dimensions have been augmented by at least one phenomenon that did not exist locally in 2003.
And you’re reading one of them.
Recalling CM Larry Kochert’s comment in 2005 that community-based activism usually fades away with time – an observation more in keeping with his own congenital immobility and absence of principle than providing evidence of a sagacious eye surveying the landscape – it remains that the ultimate strength and viability of New Albany’s emerging progressive movement have yet to be proven.
Traditional political practitioners in our community, some even more slippery than the 4th’s resident toadstool dweller, almost certainly regard the notion of an evolving progressive bloc existing outside the hidebound hegemony of Democrats and Republicans to be laughably effete, and a non-starter not to be taken seriously by veterans of the smoke-filled back rooms that politicos like Kochert have tended to prefer in spite of occasional personal regulatory convictions that the air, if not their own jaundiced motives, be magically rendered pollutant-free.
To judge by the events of recent days, at least some denizens of the realm of politics-as-usual aren’t so sure, and one of them declared for mayor yesterday.
Former mayor Doug England unexpectedly phoned last week to confirm his Balboa-esque candidacy and to seek an audience with the senior editor for the purpose of answering questions and discussing the pressing issues of the day. I accepted his previous honor’s invitation and will be meeting with him today, and while this knowledge will alarm some readers, it should not.
On numerous occasions, NAC has issued a principled call for candidates to produce issue-oriented platforms and to be prepared to discuss them. Furthermore, we have reminded local politicians that at least some members of the electorate intend to gauge the abilities of office seekers by their policy content and not church membership, high school graduation date or relationship by marriage to a second cousin’s ex-husband.
Last night, Democratic mayoral candidate Larry Scharlow responded to our challenge by attending the meet ‘n’ greet and chatting with those in attendance. It was a beginning, and he made a good – though of course not final – impression.
Quite simply, we cannot insist on access from some while denying it to others, Doug England included, even if there are those among us who regard his previous city hall tenure as a time that unfortunately came to represent the discredited ward-heeling norms of previous generations of political patronage and underachievement. Yet, like any other candidate, England deserves a chance to offer his policy platform. Let’s see exactly what platform he’s offering, and whether it will remain consistent as it is presented in coming weeks to other targeted audiences of varying demographic stripe ... and, in the end, permit our consciences to be our guide come election day.
The same logic goes for every other candidate, doesn't it? But be aware that if I'm finally offered those long overdue millions in brewery construction money ... I'm holding out for that nice Hour of Power building across from Scribner Place, including the corner car lot for drive-through keg pick-up, as well as a golf cart to get me back and forth.
As a closing note to Mark: Your point is well taken, and “Dutch Treat” it will be.