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Adele Elliott: And they're off ...

 

Adele Elliott

 

We hear a lot of people say, "I don't pay attention to politics." And, to that, I answer, "Then you get what you deserve." 

 

I am not a political reporter. I am not even a real reporter. I am just an opinion columnist who is lucky enough to have a forum for my rants and observations. 

 

But, WOW, our upcoming race for mayor and city council is becoming too interesting for me to remain silent. 

 

Of course, I will not endorse any one candidate. Who would care about my position, anyway? (Ask me in private, and I may not shut up.) 

 

A week ago, there were three candidates opposing incumbent Mayor Robert Smith in the May 7 election. Willie Petty Jr., a Democrat, withdrew last Sunday night, saying that he had received a threatening phone call that day. Evidently, there was some question about his residency. (Not a problem for Columbus Convention and Visitor Bureau board members, but this is a much more important stage.) 

 

Poor Mr. Petty. He not only pulled his hat from the ring, but also plans to leave the city. That must have been some phone call. It all happened so quickly that the gamblers didn't have time to start figuring his odds. 

 

Now there are two. Republican Glenn Lautzenhiser, and Independent Bo Jarrett are still in the race (as I write this). My advice to them is, "Don't answer the phone, guys." 

 

It does not matter if you believe Robert Smith is God's gift to Columbus. Voters should have a choice. And these candidates are excellent alternatives. They are all quite different from each other. Get out your score cards. We all need to pay attention. 

 

Unfortunately, a few of the city council members are running unopposed. (Drat!) However, the entrance of Susan Mackay (Ward 2) and Whirllie Byrd (Ward 6) makes an old feminist like me very optimistic. There are some new names, and some oldies but goodies, going up against current councilmen. This means that no one should feel too comfortable on that dais. Those old boys in the club may have to peek their faces from behind the computer screens once in a while so we can recognize them. If you wanted to hide, you shouldn't have run for public office. And, gentlemen, speak up in council meetings, pleeeze. It is very difficult for those of us in the audience to hear you, and know who is talking. 

 

It is time to start seeing the political signs sprout up in yards all over town. Ah, Spring! Those billboards may be more interesting than the azaleas and dogwood. I hope I have enough room for those touting all the candidates I am supporting. There will be one or two for people not even in my ward. I just can't help myself. 

 

When thinking of races, I keep remembering the one between the tortoise and the hare. Our political climate could prove to be more interesting than that classic. What with scary phone calls and suspicious fires, the voters should just be glad we are observers only. Are you watching, Mr. Aesop? 

 

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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