Sunday, May 01, 2011

Randy Smith for City Council: My letter to the News and Tribune.

It's ironic that on the same day my letter appears, Randy Smith's opponent runs an ad featuring her bassetball-playin' son: Just plain embarrassing.

True, Randy didn't play on the championship team. He merely has the championship-caliber platform for service.


LETTERS: May 1, 2011: Reader urges vote for Randy Smith

There are some who believe, mistakenly, that Randy Smith is at a disadvantage in his primary race for the 5th District New Albany City Council seat currently held by Diane McCartin-Benedetti.

For one, Randy is a challenger and first-time candidate, and the incumbent belongs to a well-known and appropriately connected family.

Given that local politics are tribal, and Randy comes to New Albany from elsewhere — Tennessee, to be exact — this cannot be regarded as detrimental. I see it as a recommendation; after all, the prominence of local bloodlines has not exactly advanced New Albany to the top of any best-of heaps even if it has resulted in a surfeit of cookie-cutter strip malls where corn fields used to be.

Randy owns a bookstore, and what’s more, he actually reads — books, that is, and not just the Daily Racing Form. Because it threatens ingrained comfort zones, Randy’s literacy is refreshing to me. He can write at somewhat beyond the level required to compile grocery lists, and he actually is aware of a larger world extending outside New Albany and its zany bit of acreage.

Randy studied law, and although he is not a lawyer, he possesses the crucial ability to comprehend complex documents, nuanced thoughts and intricate concepts. He has no tolerance for sophistry, cowardice and the small-timer’s delaying tactics. Since the latter comprise the complete arsenal possessed by the council’s less perceptive denizens, it has placed Randy on the opposite side of a few debates.

It is an honorable place to be, indeed, but now residents of the 5th District have the opportunity to select Randy, an authentic Democrat, to serve as their council representative.

True, he’s “not from” here, but he married a local gal, moved here, started a business here, invested here and has been every bit as community-minded and local-first as descendants of the founding Scribners, perhaps even more so. No, Randy did not attend school right down the street or play ball on the championship team. His older brother did not buy beer for you before you were legal age.

However, in challenging civic times, what is more important, nostalgia or hard thinking?

Randy is smart, studious and serious. He’ll use his head, and he will not jerk his knee. I urge you to vote for Randy Smith on May 3. New Albany needs him.

— Roger A. Baylor, New Albany

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