Over the past few months, Alex White, Green Party candidate for the City Council’s South Seat, has been just about everywhere. Alex keeps a thorough campaign calendar. In the last few months alone, he has:
Been at the farmer’s markets, 19th ward 50th anniversary, Forum on Climate control, South West Common Council meeting, done a video on corporate welfare, worked with United Christian Leadership Council on problems of police misconduct, met Senator Gillibrand, attended the SEIU meeting the candidate dinner, handed out fliers at the Clarrissa St Festival, dressed up for the 19th Amendment festival, helped write policy for police body cameras, had a booth at the Jefferson Ave business Association festival, attended eviction rallies, attended the Pillar Community Festival, been at neighborhood meetings, helped solve problems for 2 business in the area, visited the Gandhi House for the Seedfolk festival, handed out literature at the Harvest Hootenany, handed out 1200 fliers for a free ice cream social, run an ice cream social, comforted people at the vigil for the Boys and Girls club shooting, participated in 5 press conferences, had a news story about residential tax breaks, been a guest on the Brown and Allen Show, spoken at the UCLM yearly meeting, attended 8 different churches, held a corporate welfare walk to point out the buildings downtown which are tax free, run 3 events to educate the public on cooperative businesses, attended a block party movie night, and done door to door until my legs hurt.
The list is certainly incomplete as I saw Alex at the South Wedge Farmers Market meeting voters, marching in the Labor Day parade, and at the Memorial Art Gallery for a fundraiser following the Boys & Girls shooting.
I admire Alex for doing so. Even if does not win, he is engaging city residents in important conversations. At every event, Alex is talking and listening, gathering and passing along information with people in his District. Citizenship in action.
By contrast, his opponent, Adam McFadden had run a decidedly stay at home campaign. I have spoken with several people in his District; they have not really seen him anywhere with the exception of the Thursday night bicycle Ride for Unity.
Recently, Alex and I were discussing what is the appropriate tenure for a City Councilman. Alex suggested 10-12 years. After that, commitment and focus tends to wane. McFadden has been on the Council now 12 years.
And how might that commitment and focus be measured?
One gauge is an energetic election campaign. In comparison to White, McFadden has been sluggish.
Another is how engaged members are at the approximately bi-monthly Council meetings for which they are paid around 33K a year.
Basically, Council Meetings work like this. Sessions begin at 6:30 with the Speak to Council. At that time, citizens directly address the Council on an issue up for voting, including responding to questions. The Speak to Council is not video or audio recorded. Next, the Council debates and votes on issues at hand. Committee meetings are held at different days/times. The Speak to Council is the only time members can hear publicly from their constituents
In the past 22 months, McFadden has been late 12 times (missing all or part of the Speak to Council) and absent once The next closest is 7 latenesses (Conklin) followed by 3 (several). (Below). In the last two years, Alex has promptly attended all but one meeting. And he is not yet an elected official.
Is a no show campaign and habitual tardiness indicative of waning commitment? Perhaps not definitively. But with Alex–driven by his passion for community outreach and personal contact with members of his District–you get 100% commitment.
UPDATE: I sent this post to McFadden for his response and to give him the opportunity to tell more about his campaign. I have not heard back.
JUST THE FACTS 2014 – 2015
January 6/8 LATE Palumbo, Scott ABSENT Ortiz
February 5/6 LATE Conklin ABENT Scott, McFadden, Miller
March 8/9 LATE McFadden
April 7/9 LATE Ortiz Palumbo Ortiz
May 5/9 LATE McFadden, Scott, Palumbo, Conklin
June 7/9 LATE Palumbo, Conklin
July 4/7 LATE Palumbo, Ortiz McFadden, Spaull ABSENT Conklin, Palumbo
August 7/9 LATE Palumbo, Spaull
September 4/9 LATE Spaull, Palumbo, McFadden, ABSENT Haag, Conklin
October Alex missed the meeting and all were present (late unknown)
November 7/8 LATE McFadden ABSENT Haag
December 7/8 LATE Ortiz ABSENT Conklin
January 7/9 LATE Spaull, McFadden
February 7/9 LATE McFadden, Palumbo
March 6/9 LATE Palumbo McFadden Conklin
April 7/9 LATE McFadden, Haag
May 7/8 LATE McFadden Ortiz
June 6/8 Patterson Palumbo/Miller
July 7/8 Conklin/Palumbo
August 5/8 Palumbo, Haag, McFadden/ Palumbo
September 6/8 Conklin, McFadden/ Scott
The totals: Late/Absent