There are three political lawn signs in our front yard presently. This is two more than have ever been in our lawn, and three more than I generally have in front of our house.
I guess I have a certain resistance to yard signs. It's this public statement at my own address. Of course, it's better than bumper stickers on the car. I STILL see this car in my block with a Kerry-Edwards sticker and even though they were probably jobbed in Ohio, it seems sad and slightly pathetic to look at. Lawn signs you can just pull up. My next door neighbor still has a half dozen signs from last year on the front porch, some winners (Obama-Biden), some losers (a Congressional candidate).
The first sign in my lawn is for a guy running for a new position known as city auditor. The job's so new that the city has not yet established a salary for it. My candidate I have known for a number of years through the State Data Affiliates. More recently, his family belongs to my church.
I even appear in one of his campaign mailers, which I agreed to. The odd thing about that is that there are two pictures of me. The one where I'm facing the camera I see myself. The one where I'm in profile I literally don't even recognize myself because of the vitiligo; very strange.
His opponent, BTW, is a parent of a child in the the day care my daughter attended until recently. For you folks from out of town, that's why they call it Smallbany. He's running using his first name, as he did last year in his unsuccessful bid for Congress, figuring that his last name, which is comprised of a 4-, a 2- and a 3-letter word is somehow too difficult for the populace to remember.
The second sign is for a woman running for a seat on the common council; that's what they call the city's legislative branch in Albany. I initially met her through an old FantaCo friend but now know her quite independently of him. She's a bus advocate, among other positive traits. Unfortunately, I won't be able to vote for her because the lines for her district end a block away.
So two of the candidates I actually know personally before they ever considered running for office. I suppose that happens when you're in a place long enough. The last candidate I had a sign for, who ran for school board, and is now up for re-election this year, I had known since college.
The third sign in my yard is someone I don't know personally. He is running for mayor against the incumbent, who has about ten times as much money; that is no exaggeration, as these things do have to be reported periodically. Thing is, he wasn't my first choice for the job; my initial choice dropped out of the race because she - probably correctly - thought that two challengers to the current guy would leave us with the current guy again.
The guy I'm now supporting is, in the words of the song, "young, gifted, and black." He also has the endorsement of a minor party, the Working Families Party, so that if he should lose in the September 15 Democratic primary, there may be a rematch in November. Is there a Republican candidate? This is Albany; does it really matter?
There are all sorts of reasons not to support the incumbent. One issue is garbage. I mean literally; the mayor, without the knowledge of hardly anyone allowed other municipalities to dump garbage in the Albany landfill for a too-low price, so it filled up very fast, and now where Albany's trash will go in a couple years - not to mention how it'll balance its budget, when that out-of-town dumping money dries up - is an open question.
A recent issue is the resignation of the police chief, an ally of the mayor, in part over a racially insensitive comment he made. (No, I don't think it was the use of the epithet he used, but rather him suggesting relative value of black and white murder victims.)
There's a primary Tuesday, September 15. These races will be decided by a relatively few people, if history holds. Frankly, I don't know why so many more people voter in statewide elections than local elections; it's the local races that have the greater day-to-day impact in our lives.
It IS more difficult to keep track of the issues in local races. Frankly, I've often decided that when people whose opinions I value had lawn signs in their yards was at least a leading indicator of who I might support. So, maybe I'M a leading indicator this time.
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