I’d like to serve on the Aberdeen City Council, fix some roads, and clarify that citizens can exercise their First Amendment rights in our city parks. Alas, that service won’t happen, at least not this year, all because of a realtor.
Unfortunately, that nice little house is in a different part of town, and Aberdeen assigns city council seats by district:
We currently rent in the red southeast district; our pending purchase is outside that district. Thus, if elected on June 2, I would soon be unable to serve as southeast district councilman.
I thus must withdraw from the Aberdeen City Council race, leaving the only excitement in our local election for the four school board candidates. I thank my realtor (as perhaps do a few dozen trembling hard-core conservatives who can’t fathom the notion that, when we stop talking about talk-radio rhetoric, conservatives and liberals can actually find common ground on local issues). I apologize to those who signed my nominating petition hoping for a contest and to those who may have been looking forward to casting their vote for their favorite Aberdeen blogger. (I don’t think I was going to get my southeast-district neighbor and blogospheric friend Ken Blanchard‘s vote, but it is fun to try!)
It occurs to me that allotting city council seats by district instead of electing those positions at large puts renters at a disadvantage. Renters have a unique stake in certain municipal issues, like building inspection, on-street parking, and park space (to make up for lack of yard space for recreation outside the apartment). Renters may have a keen interest in housing and workforce development programs that the city promotes, since successful programs of that sort may help them move up from renting to owning. Renters’ perspectives on city issues differ from those of folks with more housing security. But being more mobile than homeowners, renters are at a disadvantage in running for districted council offices: either they will have to restrict their rental choices to one corner of town (and in Aberdeen’s tight housing market, that’s nuts), or they’ll have to forego seeking any council seat other than mayor (and Mike Levsen’s seat doesn’t come open until 2019).
But hey, these things happen. Circumstances change, and new opportunities preclude other opportunities. We’ll get moved into our new house, I’ll finally have room to set up my sawhorses and host a big blog picnic (stay tuned for that shindig!), and there will be more opportunities to serve the public… and maybe more opportunities for me to try to get Ken Blanchard’s vote.
Now, Councilor Swanson, about these streets….