Friday, November 2, 2007

Vote even if you don't have a choice

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 and You Are There -- at least I hope you are.

Of course, I'm talking about Election Day, when the good people of New Haven get to return John DeStefano Jr. and his merry band of Democrats to City Hall.

Republicans don't do well in New Haven. They are running two people for the 30-seat Board of Aldermen, and one of them is the lone Republican on the board. The only other GOP hopeful is a guy named Malone, running in the 25th Ward in Westville.

Rick Eiser is running for mayor on the GOP ticket and Ralph Ferrucci is on the Green Party line. Neither has more of a chance than the Washington Redskins (can you say redskin in New Haven?) had against the New England Patriots last week. (New England won 50-something to 7)

So, why vote? Because you can.

Look, I'm not going to wrap myself up in a flag and say that hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women have died to give us the right to vote (although they did) and that we have a civic duty to maintain our method of government (although we do).

Most of us don't really have a say in who our aldermen and women are and who sits on the second floor of City Hall. We could have a say if we want to join the Democratic party and work our way into the seats of power. We could become one of the backroom pols who say who runs for what.

We don't even have a real boss anymore. Democratic kingmaker Arthur Barbieri used to sit up in his downtown insurance and travel agency and pass on who wanted to run and kept the really inept from seeking office. It was corrupt, but it was colorful. We didn't have any Joe Ganums and Phil Giordanos. Those are the two idiots who are in jail for corruption on Joe's part and being a horrible child molester in Giordano's case.

I guess what I'm saying is vote the idiots in one more time, but start working to clean up city government. Get involved -- show up at Board of Aldermen meetings. Call the alders...their addresses and numbers are on the city Web site
and tell them what you think. But it can't be like -- I want you to do this or that and don't bother me. You need to become involved. Volunteer for boards and commissions. Keep bugging the alders to pass that ethics rule.

DeStefano, who will be the next mayor, is a really nice guy who has some interesting ideas.

He reminds me of my former colleague Bobby I.

Bobby I is an African-American journalist -- or at least he was until he got divorced and ran off to Thailand to live in a monestery. I'm not sure if he's still there, although I heard he was back in the states.

Before he decided to shave his head and become a Buddhist monk, he would sit in the newsroom between deadlines -- sometimes during deadlines --and smoke a huge cigar (you could do that then) and talk about how every kid should get a computer so he or she could keep up in school. Society should make sure that every child not only had the same chance at success (no problem with that) but that every child should be given, at government expense, the best implements like computers and high-speed Internet and software and all kinds of fancy calculators to be sure he or she succeeded. Not only opportunity but results should be guaranteed.

When asked how all this would be paid for, he said it was up to the government to figure it out.

Well, have a great weekend, and for those in the Tribe, a good Shabbos.

Until next time...

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