About three weeks ago I started seeing a specific District 19 candidate's yard signs going up around the North End. The thing of it is, they were not going up here and there, but they seemed to blanket entire streets, even before the May 17 qualifying date for the candidates. It seems early in the race, but you can drive around parts of Germantown and Hope Gardens and see rows of yards lock-stepped with a single candidate's signs.
After spending a while turning the issue over and over in my undecided mind, I am bound to interrogate my neighbors. I completely acknowledge the right of anyone to decide to choose a candidate whenever they see fit. And I can certainly understand how some individuals here and there might have already reached a decision, perhaps even months in advance of the qualifying date. However, unless there is some sort of unreflective herd-mentality afoot, I fail to understand how entire streets can endorse a single candidate before we've had exposure to most of the candidates. We have not even had the opportunity to judge them up against one another in a debate format.
I am told that some feel that it is important to go ahead and choose one and try to get them on board with particular neighborhood agendas. I can understand how individuals might do that, but entire streets and blocks? Is that approach not how we got into this current mess with a complacent Ludye Wallace, who acts like he has never fought for votes? Let me suggest that we will get the best candidate should we hold out and encourage them to fight for our votes and our political contributions for a while before we commit. I assure you it will make them better Council Members after August if they have to scrap and fight for support before August.
I have already met and talked with three candidates for longer amounts of time than I am sure each reckoned for, and I am still undecided. And I want to have to make a hard choice between strong contenders, because it gives me a modicum of faith that whoever wins will be a stronger representative of our interests. The District 19 race should not be another coronation of a pre-selected candidate, who can thereafter be buoyed by name recognition and a few large financial contributors who have the winner's ear.
I'll reiterate: I don't expect every individual to be like me and hold out, but I just fail to grasp how entire blocks of North End residents would seem to have already made up their minds en masse, in some cases without having met other candidates. We've already been down that road with Ludye Wallace. Why do we have to go there again?