Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pin headed approaches to leadership from politician elsewhere on real democracy

This was sent in as a Letter to the editor with the Baltimore Sun:
Does Mayor O’Malley really favor democracy? Are ballot access barriers a good thing?

Around 1 pm on Saturday May 6 2006, I was volunteering at the Libertarian Booth at the Towson Town Festival. The Libertarian Party is the 3rd largest party in the U.S. and has been operating for over 30 years. Like all states, Maryland’s electoral system is controlled by the Democrats and Republicans, so that to have candidates on the ballot, the Libertarian Party must turn in 10,000 valid signatures every 2 years to stay on the ballot. This repeated effort of course saps strength from other projects we might undertake, but of course that is what many career politicians want.

In any event, Mayor Martin O'Malley was walking past the Libertarian booth, and I asked him to sign the petition, making it clear that signing does not mean he endorses the party nor is he obligated to vote for any libertarian. He said he is ‘with another party’ and could not do that. [Two of his entourage took the same position, but two others signed.] As he briskly walked away, I asked if he was afraid of competitive ideas or and felt democracy had its limits. He shouted back that if Erhlich signed he would sign – to which I inquired if he only does what Erhlich does.

Does the mayor’s face to face response reflect the type of person we should have in Annapolis? In city hall? In a homeowner’s association?

When the public's ability to have alternate candidates available to them is limited by games like ballot access, should politicians be forced to simplify the system and give up their personal fiefdoms?

Steven Sass

p.s. I have since been told that Governor Robert L. Ehrlich DID in fact sign our petition when we last encountered him – about 4 years ago, AND at that time we actually had a candidate, Spear Lancaster, ON THE BALLOT, running against Mr. Ehrlich

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