It was a beautiful Election Day in Havre de Grace on Tuesday; it seems like it is every year, although maybe that’s because I still have lingering frostbite from the frigid Aberdeen Election Day of this past November.
This was a strange election for Havre de Grace, really unlike any other I can remember from my 8 years or so covering elections in Harford County. There were no issues that truly caught traction, no real spats or bad blood between any of the candidates (at least none which was spilled publicly) and no one running for office with a bold plan for change.
With that in mind, there was mixed sentiment about the 1,029 votes cast Tuesday in the election. Some were thrilled to at least see that 1,000 people in the city cared enough to vote in a non-mayoral year, while others pointed out there were many thousands more in Havre de Grace who couldn’t be bothered, even on a beautiful spring day, to come out and vote.
The absentee and provisional ballots still need to be counted and the official results won’t be read until the May 19 city council meeting, but the outcome of this race isn’t going to change – Miller, Martin and Cullum will soon be sitting at the dais as city councilmen.
Now, without further ado, here are some quick observations gleaned from a few hours spent Tuesday on Pennington Avenue:
– Sunday night’s candidate forum at the city police station was said to have been something of a bust. At least one of the candidates was out of town and couldn’t participate and estimates put it at maybe 15 people who attended. There has already been some rumblings about getting some new, unaffiliated faces to step up and organize a forum next year. Anyone interested in seeing how a Dagger-hosted forum would turn out? I can tell you one thing, a Dagger forum wouldn’t be held at 8 p.m. Sunday – commencing 36 hours before the polls open.
– John Correri may be on a losing streak, having dropped 3 consecutive races in bids for Harford County Council, Havre de Grace Mayor and now Havre de Grace City Council, but don’t feel sorry for him. He went through a very rough period recently with a health scare and the death of his mother, but is back on his feet, looking and feeling better than ever. Seriously, it was a warm day and John is a big boy, but he was smiling and moving around like I’ve never seen before. Correri told me he decided to run for office when someone from city hall pointed out only two other people had filed. He knew his chances weren’t all that good, but Correri was having a great time Tuesday waving and talking to people. It was hard not to cheer for the guy.
– Dagger faithful RichieC made an appearance and spent some time talking with the few candidates who had refused, until that point, to address the beleaguered boater’s concerns. I’m told at least one candidate had a lengthy, rational discussion with RichieC, the two were actually able to come to an understanding and RichieC left happy. Imagine that, someone addressing the concerns of a would-be constituent instead of ignoring or running from them and it actually resulted in a positive outcome – who would have thought?
– Every year there is one candidate who outworks, outhussles, outlasts, outwits and outsurvives his competitors. This year that candidate was Bill Martin and he was rewarded with a seat on the city council for the next two years. Martin had the kind of second-degree sunburn on his face that only develops after spending about 12 hours a day outside for a few weeks. An interesting anecdote he passed along: Martin’s campaign had about 7,200 postcards printed and sent out to all the registered voters in Havre de Grace. Each postcard had his web site address printed on the front and back along with a message urging those holding the postcard to log on and visit him on the Internet. So how many of the 7,200 people actually visited Martin’s web site? In total, 32 people. Also, Martin wanted to set the record straight on those who were certain his landslide victory in the Dagger pre-election poll was a result of him mobilizing his Aberdeen Middle School students to log on and vote. As Martin correctly pointed out, that Dagger poll wasn’t posted online until Friday night and Martin was already bringing in big numbers well before he and his students returned to class Monday morning.
– One-time council candidate Kalman Reigelhaupt spent much of the day beside City Councilman Jim Miller, but took some time to talk politics, local and national, with a former local newspaper editor. While he wouldn’t say specifically why he decided to drop out of this year’s race, Kal mentioned that he was getting tired and old – but that he could probably still have torn up all the candidates in the race. I’d have to agree. For those of you who know Kal only as the scruffy, grumbling guy who stumbles into and out of city council meetings on his own clock, there’s much that you’re missing. There’s something to be said for ‘new blood,’ but Reigelhaupt is almost literally from a dying breed and his perspective and local history lessons alone should be very valuable to Havre de Grace and it’s elected officials.
– Although he garnered the fewest votes among the field of candidates, Jim Walker didn’t seem to mind much. He was happy just to be able to spend a beautiful day off work with his wife and family. Walker also framed the race and his candidacy in an interesting way. They way he saw it, there were the 3 ‘new blood’ candidates endorsed by the local newspaper and the 3 ‘old guard’ candidates purportedly supported by Harford County Executive and former Havre de Grace Mayor David Craig. And then there was Candidate 7 – Jim Walker – who said he had no allegiances or alliances and didn’t fall into either of the ‘new blood’ or ‘old guard’ contingents. It’s an interesting strategy to remain completely unattached to any group or issue, but it also leaves you without a built in constituency – as Walker saw when he brought in just 174 votes.
– There was no repeat of last year’s performance when failed city council candidate Buddy Schweers backed his truck up into a telephone pole in the middle of the parking lot outside the voting booths, but there was a little excitement of the same ilk. Apparently, a car backed up into another car in the same parking lot, but the damage wasn’t serious and there were no injuries.
– For all the talk of there being no bad blood between any of the candidates, there sure was a lot of grumbling and whispering along Pennington Avenue on Election Day. Several of the ‘old guard’ candidates grumbled about how the ‘new blood’ is celebrated each year as the change Havre de Grace needs and a few of the ‘new blood’ candidates rolled their eyes and whispered about how some of the more ‘seasoned’ candidates should know when to call it quits. Despite being crammed into a smaller area, there were also surprisingly few instances of candidates arguing over tent location or sign placement.
– Recognizable faces in the crowd:
County Executive David Craig greeted me and then later scolded me when he mistakenly thought I was jotting down something he had just mumbled under his breath.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty met with each candidate at their tents before the results were announced and was among the first to congratulate the winners and console the losers after the fact. City Council members Randy Craig and Barbara Ferguson made the rounds as well, but I didn’t see fellow council members Steve Gamatoria, Garrett Lyttle or Joe Kochenderfer while I was around.
The wife and family of Aberdeen City Councilman Mike Hiob were out in full force and each was wearing a Bill Martin shirt. I have it from a good source that Hiob’s son, Adam, might have Martin as a government teacher at Aberdeen Middle School. But where was the pater familias on election night? Apparently, Mike Hiob was at some kind of function for Del. Mary-Dulany James and didn’t get a chance to celebrate Martin’s victory with the rest of his family.
Anyone else have any interesting observations to share?
Just over 1000 voters cast their ballots Tuesday night. How does this compare to the poll that we ran here over the weekend on The Dagger? 80 people “voted” on The Dagger, which is a pretty good sample size. Here were the final results of our poll:
Hmm, maybe CNN and FoxNews should be calling us for our predictions in the national race? 🙂
Barry Anderson says
One thing I learned running for City Council is the more things change in HDG the more they stay the same.
Brain. About the long discussion you mentioned….the candidate did relize the correct context of the issue…a metter of rights and law verses boats. This has been consistant among all candidates and officials, universally except for a slim few. Its understood, universally, by everyone who doesnt have a stake in the matter. It was understood by Norton. It was understood by the DNR. Its understood by a few of our sitting council members. Now mabey some force from within can encourage those who “dont want to make waves” on the council come forward and do the right thing.
Congrats to the winners…and to the guys who didnt get seats …cudos for your attempt and keep active in our affaires…..we need the diverse voices and issues you bring forward. You all have provided a great service to the process and I’m sure everyone appreciates it .
THANK YOU !
go -dagger !
I was the first one there and one of the last to leave. It was interesting to see the dynamic of the people who came to vote and the candidates with their supporters. Gammatoria didn’t show is face until almost 10 when he set up his tent and put hundreds of signs out. Barry got there early, but left for half the day and both he and Correri spent their time under the Martin tent.
Saying that Bill Martin outcampaigned the rest is an understatement. He was in a shirt and tie all day, talking to everyone, shaking hands, discussing topics and even had coffee, doughnuts, pizza and candy for anyone who wanted them.
It was a long day and I’m glad it payed off. Barry, I hope you run again. You have an interesting perspective that would add balance to the council.
Here are some comments that came in to The Dagger very early this morning from recently re-elected city councilman Jim Miller:
“Today was the testament to how the campaigns were run. Overall I think everyone ran a clean campaign. I never heard any of the candidates trash talk the other candidates. The forum was OK. Many of the same issues were discussed. It’s time for an independent group to take on the candidate forum. Maybe the High School Government Class? Now that the voting is over it was a slow turnout.
Only 1029 votes were cast today at the Saint Patrick’s Church Hall. Maybe next year some advertising and directional signs are in order. The City could place
signs that say ‘Vote Today’.”
Joseph G Gamatoria says
Dear Dagger Readers:
First off I would like to congratulate the winners for all of their hard work. I would like to throw my insight from the last few weeks at you guys. I have had a chance to spend some moments with Jim Miller and he is a great guy and is worthy of the votes he received. Bill Martin had a great campaign and has some great ideas. I just hope he has enough time to devote to his citizens and family. Also, Bill and I share some ideas when it comes to greenovations and turning the meter backwards. Fred Cullum has so much experience and has proven himself time and again, even over the last year while he held no public office. Fred truly deserved this win. John Correri is an easy guy to get along with and also has a track record of service. Barry Anderson is a very smart guy and understands the fact that for problems such as crime, you have to go to the root. Barry can seems abrasive at times, however I think that someone who takes the opportunity to stand up for what he belives in is the reason most of our families migrated to America. I spent some of the day shooting the breeze with James Walker and his son. I admire James’ attitude towards giving back to his community. To use an old cliche, thats something you can hang your hat on.
As far as some of the above comments and from what I personally saw yesterday, I also so no spats or arguements. I was welcomed by each candidate and enjoyed listening to each of them and I hope I helped them pass the day by as well as they helped me. I was thinking that there would be about 800-1000 voters with the weather and the non-mayoral election in mind. I trust we will see a larger turnout next year in the mayor’s race.
Sunday nights candidate night wasnt a bust for those who attended. It was short and sweet and informative. Also, I think that with 6 out of 7 candidates in attendance, it was the event before election day with almost all of us present.
I did have a brief conversation with RichieC, and I am interested if his candidates will truly uphold his beliefs.
I was one of the 32 people who visited Bill Martin’s page. I went twice, so is that a unique visitor count? I visited on my Iphone and at work, so I guess I counted twice? I’m sure Bill took a look or two also. I would have expected more Havre de Gracians to take advantage of this opportunity. I did have a chance to chew the fat with Kal while awaiting the results. I always enjoy speaking to him, and I listen very carefully.
I would like to state for the record however, I did not witness any “old guard vs. new blood” eye-rolling or comments about people needing to call it quits. I used the term new blood a few times in my campaign, but I think that it was to bring attention to my youth not create a line between the candidates. Also, I heard no spats over sign placement or tent location, but I didnt come out until around 9 am.
I did stay the whole day with the exception of a fire call and lunch.
Also, “Jim” (not to be confused with Councilman Jim Miller, I can assure you) as you stated above, I did arrive around 9 or 9:15 not 10am. Also, my last name is Gamatoria NOT Gammatoria, and there were a total of 42 of my signs out NOT hundreds. Since you saw my name “hundreds” of times as you were passing my signs I guess I will blame your inability to spell my name, or more importantly give me the same respect that I will give you, on the spelling of my name. Sorry if I seem abrasive, I just hate my name being butchered. Also, I think that I met you (if your Jim C) and I remember your last name and even what commision you said you served on.
Now that thats off my chest, I will say that from a safety perspective, the parking situation and the flow of traffic was very hectic. Speeding cars, elderly drivers, pedestrians, the faded arrows that direct traffic on the parking lot, etc..
If we continue to have elections at St. Pat’s Hall, which is such a beautiful building by the way, we should consider this safety issue. I don’t want to be proven by a mishap next year that leads to property damage or more importantly, injury.
I will say that I agree with Coucilman Miller on the forum for next year’s candidate night. I will say however, as I am proving with this extemely long post, if the Dagger is involved there will be rules that need to be followed so RichieC cant ask 10 questions about the marina and I cant rant about people not caring enough to scroll 6 inches up and check the spelling of my name before typing.
Once again to everyone who supported me, thanks from the bottom of my heart. you have no idea what this means to me. To be chosen by over one third of the citzens of Havre de Grace who voted really means the world. Also, congrats again to the winners and good luck. I will be in contact.
Joseph G Gamatoria
Joseph G Gamatoria says
Actually, I do recall a situation yesterday where I was upset momentarily. I saw my elderly grandmother walk across the parking lot and I met with her, gave her a hug and a kiss and started talking to her about clothes in a box from her old winter house in Florida. It was at this time that I was asked to step out of the “no electionering” zone by Mrs. Daigle, I believe her name to be. I explained that the woman was my grandmother and that I wanted to met her to stop her from walking another 50 yards to my tent to say hello. After she asked me again, politely, she added that it wasnt fair to the other candidates because they dont know that this woman is my grandmother. I was not wearing a shirt or carrying papers or wearing even a button. So I thought that this rule was stringent.
Then I started thinking about it and for like 10 mins about an hour before there was a young boy on a cell phone standing in front of the doors in another candidates shirt. Clear as day in the “zone”. Then about an hour after the incident with my grandmother, a lady in another candidates shirt and carrying a sign was allowed to actually enter the building and vote.
Now, obviously I didnt see this as a huge issue or I would have screamed bloody murder. I dont think that it was in taste, nor do I think that it was condoned by the candidate (it was the same candidate for both incidents).
The reason I am bringing this up is because I stated that I didnt see anything that upset me, and I did make a comment or two, jokingly, to others nearby about these situations.
More importantly, I would like to hear feedback on this rule being enforced from others. I remember speaking with several people a while back about how police officers would watch the polls in times past, is this needed or are incidents like these very few and far between?
I am most interested in comments from older citizens that have been voting for a very long time. Hope you guys are out there!
I really am just upset because I had to walk away from my grammy, she is such a sweet woman 🙂
Well, I’m not sure election officials can do much about people wearing shirts supporting a candidate, but I do know that bringing campaign materials like signs, stickers and flyers into a polling location is prohibited. I guess the question here is whether the lady carrying the sign into the church came out of the church still carrying the sign.
I think there was a situation maybe 2 years ago where someone alleged the workers posted inside the polling place to help voters figure out the new electronic machines were actually instructing some of the elderly voters which names they should choose. I’m highly suspicious of that claim, however.
It’s an issue worth looking into, but I suspect there is some gray area. Obviously, helping your grandmother across the street is not the same as handing out buttons to everyone at the entrance to the church.
When electioneering for a county wide candidate I was told that I would have to turn my t-shirt inside out or cover it with a closed jacket before entering the building for a potty stop. Rules should be consistantly applied and enforced. That said- I think that every candidate should be allowed to escort his/her grandparent or frail relative into/ out of the no campaigning zone as long as no signage is involved. I think it shows respect and character.
Mr Gamatoria…I wasnt at the forum although I did push for knowledge of its existance to be dissiminated every where and way I could I could…so I am woundering what you are talking about when you referr to ten questions about the marina. If you are referring to my marina comments in the dagger …that issue pre dated this election…the dagger…and jim millers first elected term as councilman and is many faceted. Its not an issue that can be discussed in one sentance although some would like it that way as has been exibhited in the Dagger and at council meetings. I have explained that the comments and responses have been the next best thing to a hearing to get at the facts.
But Joe…..I do like a lot of what you got to say and I wish you the best for now and please keep in touch…I can take it……you do have very good Ideas and their time and day will come…keep at it kid ! Stay on the warpath…next year is around the corner!
Joe ….In the mean time…I will keep the issue that continues…the marina issue of a railroading, dillution of rights, and plain old revenge, alive as long as the city wants it to stay alive! Every day is a new incident of this “institutionalised harassment” and every day it shall be addressed until it is rectified .
As for signage…oh well…I heard that stuff too….I pay it no heed unless it was outragous.
Joe…Ill be in touch soon.
Ps…I did scrool up many times to correctly spell a name.
Mr “Gamatoria”, I appologize for incorrectly spelling your name, but it sounds more like sour grapes than disdain for the mis-spelling. If the worst thing that ever happens to a person is to have their name mis-spelled, then they have lived a charmed life.
As for the boundry issue, we all knew were it was and every one of the candidates was permitted within 100′ as long as they had no campaign material showing. I saw the woman coming out of the polling place as well, campaign shirt on and sign in hand. I was told that that is the way she went in and was then promptly asked to leave. She didn’t know, but I would bet that she won’t do it again.
So those are the infamous diebold machines…I have to say that I was not bitten and no alarms went off when I used it. I do think that more space should be between choices as my fat fingers almost hit two choices at once…and that was with the large text. but not bad over all. I was a bit uncomfortable when I asked a question while voting and the election worker looked at the screen. Mabey a button to oblitirate your choices when you need assistance. Possibly a button in the booth that lights a light for assistance and blanks your screen to another screen used for assistance, than a rest button for him to push that returns you to the actual voting screen when hes finished helping you. Or possibley a walk through…text narrated….if you desire before going to the voting sequence.
Somthing to ponder at the deibold world headquaters reasearch and development division. Just send cash in small bills when you use the idea !
I heard from a few people who were confused when they had to repeatedly push “cast ballot”
Jim…that multiple cast ballot is for machines used in chicago….they just disable the second vote outside chicago.
Question…is the code of the programing scrutinized at all levels by any group?
I know a question like that smacks of “conspirecey thoery” but i just wonder if it is.
go – dagger !
When the electronic voting machines were first introduced for use in Harford County a few years back, I remember interviewing a local political activist who also happens to have a background in computer programming. He told me flat out that if I gave him a half-hour with one of the machines he could get it to spit out any result he wanted…not very reassuring.
Also, let’s not forget that the chief executive officer of Diebold was also a die-hard Republican supporter in Ohio and raised several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Bush re-election campaign. He even promised to “deliver Ohio to Bush, no matter what” in a public letter sent out prior to the election.
In Georgia, the first state to widely introduce the new Diebold machines in their 2002 gubernatorial election, there were more political upsets than any election in the state’s history. Each upset victory went to a Republican – unheard of in the deep south state.
As it turns out, Diebold installed patches on its machines before the state’s 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials.
Questions were also raised in Texas when three Republican candidates each received exactly the same number of votes – 18,181.
By now it’s widely known that I’m a conspiracy theorist of the highest order, but, as a few of us discussed Tuesday in Havre de Grace, voting is one of those things in life that is best left uncomplicated.
Joseph G Gamatoria says
Thanks Jim, and I appreciate your feedback on the woman in the polling place. I will say that I watched her enter and waited for her to leave and it seemed like a little too long to be considered a prompt response from the election board. I didnt mean to come across as sour grapes and if I offended anyone I do apologize.
RichieC- I reread my post from yesterday and my word choice does lead me to believe that you did attend the candidates night. I did not mean for this to come across as such I meant that if the Dagger organized it hopefully there would be a greater turnout and as such certain rules would have to be followed.
As for the electioneering zone, it was clearly marked with an absence of campaign signs and two small maybe one by one signs (smaller than mine) provided by the board of elections. I do agree with Councilman Miller on looking into signage next year. There were a few, especially elderly, voters that mentioned to me that they went to the high school or elementary school first and were told where to go to cast their ballot.
As for the Diebold machines (admittedly not knowing a lot about them) I feel as long as there are tamper proof ways of using them I guess they are more efficient. Is there a possibility that we could use both machines and paper ballots? I mean it is about the voter feeling comfortable. Of course we dont want any “hanging chads” either.
I also witnessed at least one voter that is not a resident of Havre de Grace. Now, I am not trying to “stir the pot” by any means. I would however like to learn more about the actual election process not what people think happens. I do not think that there is a political machine like old New York, Boston or Chicago.
However, observations and discussion can lead to great outcomes. Did anyone witness anything that seemed fishy or have trouble with the Diebold machines? I have used it in the past, and I understood how to use it, but then again I use various computer programs about 4 hours a day.
I personally feel like there should be a police presence at the precint. Not only to enforce the rules, but to allow the Board of Elections people do their job on the inside. It was a really long day for me, I can only imagine what it was like on the inside. Also, it would be good for the image of the police department to have an officer present and meet the public. I am sure that this will happen next year in for the Mayor’s race. I guess we, the candidates, kept it a little too quiet this year for their to be concern.
With that I look forward to comments and ideas to increase turnout in Havre de Grace and everywhere else for that matter.
Joe… not a problem and thanks. Ididn’t think thats what you meant, but you know me.
But… no political machine?
And… As for discussion you better be careful. You might be exiled like I am if you upset the wrong person. Remember this when entering a discussion ask the question only once, and accept whatever answer is given to you even if it is”i’ll check out” and never ever ever ever bring the subject up again, or you will be consider a trouble maker and deported
begood and see you on visting day
Here are the official vote totals from the May 6 HdG election:
Barry Anderson – 361
John P. Correri, Jr. – 388
Fred H. Cullum – 416
Joseph G. Gamatoria – 334
Bill Martin – 465
James P. Miller – 499
James W. Walker – 177
Ballot Question A
FOR Sale of Property to Shane Sheet Metal, Inc. – 664
AGAINST Sale of Property to Shane Sheet Metal, Inc. – 289
Ballot Question B
FOR Sale of Property to St. James AME Church and MT. Erin Cemetery – 843
AGAINST Sale of Property to St. James AME Church and MT. Erin Cemetery – 166
Ballot Question C
FOR Sale of Property to MacGregor’s, Inc. – 687
AGAINST Sale of Property to MacGregor’s, Inc. – 312
Active Registered Voters – 7,479
Ballots Cast at Polls – 1,029
Ballots Cast Absentee I – 12
Ballots Cast Absentee II – 5
Ballots Cast Provisional – 10
TOTAL BALLOTS CAST – 1,056
Percentage of Voter Turnout – 14%
The swearing in for the HdG city council is tonight. Any guesses on who will be elected internally to serve as the new city council president? Here is the agenda for the meeting:
City Council Agenda – 5/19/08
1. Public Hearing – 5/19/08 – 7:00 P.M. – On W/S Commission Ordinance #896
a. ” An Ordinance by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace adopted pursuant to the authority of Article XI-E of the Constitution of Maryland and the provisions of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland for the purpose of creating the Havre de Grace Water/Sewer Commission; establishing the purpose, duties, and organization of the Commission; establishing the memership, method of appointment, and terms of membership
b. of the Havre de Grace Water/Sewer Commission.”
2. Call to Order
3. Roll Call
4. Pledge of Allegiance
5. Opening Prayer by: Pastor Timothy Rabbit (Harbor of Grace Assembly of God)
6. Approval of Minutes of May 5, 2008
a. Firefighters for Months of March & April: March – Tom Phelan & Dave Larson; April – Jim Miller, Barry Hewitt & Floyd Bowman
b. Students of the Month: Brittney Kane, HdeG High School
c. Alicia Smith – Parks and Recreation Volunteer
d. “Did You Know Award?”
e. Proclamation to Recognize Havre de Grace Main Street, Inc. receiving Accreditation as a 2008 National Main Street Program
f. Presentation from Board of Election Supervisors – Sally Daigle
8. Comments from Citizens on Agenda Items
9. Resolutions: (None)
a. Introduction for Amended Taxi Ordinance: “An Amendment to Ordinance #880 by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace pursuant to the authority of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the City Charter for the purpose of amending City Code Chapter 180, current City Ordinance # 880.”
b. Tax Rate Ordinance #895: (2nd Reading & Adoption) “An Ordinance by the Mayor and City Council of HdeG, Md., pursuant to the authority provided by the Annotated Code of Maryland Tax-Property Article 23A, fixing the tax rate for the fiscal year July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of assessable real property, personal property; and providing an additional special tax levied within critical area special taxing district
11. Unfinished Business:
a. Licensing Agreement – 509 Green Street – Replacement Fence in Right-of-Way
b. Rescind of RAD Loan to De Chalet Salon in the amount of $84,400 due to the loan not meeting the current requirements of the City.
12. Business from the Council
13. Presentation and Comments from Mayor
14. Adjourn Sine Die
15. Oath of Office Administered by: Judge Emory Plitt
a. James P. Miller
b. Fred H. Cullum
c. William Thomas Napier Martin
16. Call to Order
17. Roll Call
18. Motion from Council to Move to Closed Session – Selection of Council President
20. Roll Call
21. Motion for Election of Council President
22. Council President Comments
25. New Business:
a. Motion to Recognize Boundary Expansion for Main Street,Inc.
b. Approval of Special Events: Shakespeare in the Park; Concerts in the Park; Seafood Festival and Law Enforcement Torch Run
26. Business from the Mayor
27. Business from Council
28. Comments from Citizens
14% of the registered voters selected the Council. I think I’d be ashamed to be sworn in.
That’s a dumb thing to say. The ones who should be ashamed are the 86% who DID NOT vote.
Thanks for noting my “dumbness.” I find it fascinating that the majority who wish to enter into public discourse tend to begin by demeaning the previous participant. I apologize for offending your tender feelings citizen. The problem is precisely as you state it: “The ones who should be ashamed are the 86% who DID NOT vote.” Look at those numbers; slightly over 1,000 voters spoke for the slightly less than 7,500 registered, operative word REGISTERED citizens. How many ELIGIBLE citizens are there in HdG? Something like 1/3 again as many or 9,750! Now the percentage of those speaking for the rest turns to 10.8%! I know that this is a trend in our country but where is the sense of responsibility? When life gives us lemons it’s up to us to go find the tequila and salt. If we are in the 10% look how powerful we become.
Now back to my original point: Jim Miller (as an example only, don’t jump me Jim, I don’t even know you) got 499 votes to place #1. Does he now represent those 499 or the full 1,056 or the total population of something close to 14,000? As I said I would be ashamed to take the oath of office with those numbers. 500 people said he’s the best, now he owes them. That is the standard think in politics. I heard a sitting Aberdeen Councilman say “forget the paving of those streets. THOSE people don’t vote!” How do our bad sections of town get bad? Look at the previous quote and know. The responsibility of the Council is awesome and effect the lives of all those people and none of the Council dare forget it. Now watch them cater to the 10 percenters for the coming year.
If you don’t vote, you do NOT have the right to complain. No excuses. Why would any elected official cater to people who have no bearing on their political office. The right to vote is sacred. Men and women who have come before us have given their lives to secure that right. This lazy GEN X population we have now would rather spend hours hunting down more music to download on their ipod or update their “myspace” website rather than take the 10 minutes ONCE a year to fulfill thier civic duty and vote.
I mean seriously, how hard is it to go to the post office and fill out a voter registration form?
As far as I’m concerned, council should cater to the 10% that elected them….maybe that will piss people off eneough to get off their butts and vote.
I vote AND I keep The Dagger’s Myspace Page updated each week!
Incidentally, 416 votes elected Fred Cullum back onto the city council. In Havre de Grace, a city with a population of roughly 12,000 residents, that comes out to about 3.5 percent. I understand not everyone is registered to vote or old enough to vote, but does that mean Cullum should cater to that 3.5 percent of Havre de Grace?
Wouldn’t that mean Cullum would basically just cater to the Susquehanna Hose Company? 🙂
All pokes and jabs aside….elected officials take an oath to serve the people…ALL people. I do not deny that.
But the reality is…if you have two neighborhoods that need street paving, and one neighborhood has a high voter turn out and the other doesn’t, which one do you think will get paved first?
It’s the sad reality of how things seem to work….not just in HdG, but everywhere in this country.
For heaven’s sake….what does it take to motivate people to get out and vote?????
….and Steve, you may be right, maybe Cullum did capitalize on the Hose Co. vote.
Don’t forget Jim Miller. The recently re-elected city councilman was also named Susquehanna Hose Company’s Firefighter of the Month for April.
voting genXer says
cpjr, that was annoying and condescending, and assumed you had age stats on the voters who turned out. maybe the gen Xers couldn’t get out of work to go vote because they were busy busting their asses to pay for your social security benefits.
“all pokes and jabs aside,” voting technology will have to evolve in order to accommodate increasingly busy, commuting, computer-savvy voters. i had to leave work early to vote in the primaries, and also for the local elections–because i work in PG county and leave at 6 and come home at 7 or 8. some people can’t get out of their work schedules or can’t afford to.
sorry if that makes me a lazy gen Xer, but if i can file my taxes online, why not vote? i’m no IT person, so i know if would be more complicated than just logging in…but wouldn’t the voter participation drastically increase if you weren’t asking people to physically appear at a specific location on a workday?
like maybe set up a voter registration account with security questions, identifying info and all that, and get a personal pin number with your card. then give us the option, so that the older folks who resist change can still bubble in their choices with a number 2 pencil.
Dude….once you start allowing people to vote online we’re all screwed. With all the money involved in big national and sometimes local elections….it is only a matter of time until someone figures out a way to hack into the system to add votes or delete votes. All our founding fathers ever asked of us, to secure democracy for future generations, was to get off our ass and physically cast a vote. There is something sacred about tht duty, that right, that privilege! If you are working so long and so hard that you do not have the time to vote, then the big business’s of America win! That’s what they want.
Solution…….it’s called an absentee ballot. You can EMAIL the Board of Elections and recieve one through the mail.
voting genXer says
as i said, i got off my ass and voted. my point, however, is that low voter turnout cannot necessarily be blamed on genXers downloading music and chatting it up on myspace. there are a variety of factors, and as technology evolves, so will the voting process. perhaps not in my stream-of-consciousness plan above, but it will…dude.
Jim (not jim miller) says
Ha! I was gonna say “absentee ballot”.
The people who came out to vote don’t represent those that didn’t make it out. They represent themselves. The proportional weight that their vote carries is increased with the direct decrease of the apathetic citizens who stayed home to watch TV.
This is a representative government.
Sorry, but the politicians represent the voters. Don’t vote…..don’t complain. Pretty simple.
Well said Jim (not jim miller)…….
You know…it ain’t like the election was kept a secret. It was in the newspaper for several weeks (a newspaper is actual paper with symbols printed on it…I guess you Gen Xer’s can call it a HARD copy) and I recieved 3 postcards from 3 different candidates that all stated the election date, place and time.
Jim (not jim miller) says
Not to mention the abundace of signs around town tipping you off that there was something going on.
We will likely not see purely electronic voting within the next few decades. As for me, I’m glad for that.
voting genXer says
all right guys, let me say it again: i voted. my issue was with you blaming my age group for low voter turnout–an usubstantiated claim. no one has said that the election was kept a secret, nor was i complaining about the outcome.
it’s interesting that you insult me with the newspaper “hardcopy” comment, since a local newspaper is where i kicked off my writing career…like many of the dagger younguns…
and good for you for figuring out the new-fangled blog forum!
Jim (not jim miller) says
Meh, I’m 31. Does that make me a Gen-Xer?
I’m a Gen Xer myself……but I’ve learned not to take generalities or stereotypes personally.
Jim (not jim miller) says
Stereotypes serve a purpose and are based, at least in part, upon truth.
I see it every day at work. We have people my age who do their work, get stuff done and do whatthey have to do. But I also see a vast majority of younger …idiots…who are slacking off all day and have nothing to show for their life.
That said, I’m on the Dagger while at work….
I’m surprised no one has mentioned last night’s election for City Council President. In a true lack of regard for the citizens of Havre de Grace, the city officials, in their infinite wisdom, tossed a coin to determine who would be City Council President. Why didn’t they just go with whoever “called it” first? Is this the way our government should be conducting business? Unfortunately, it appears that this is how decisions are made in City Hall. Should we raise water rates? Toss a coin. Just toss a coin to make decisions that affect some 14,000 odd people. Way to show true leadership. In that respect Mr. Cullum, congratulations on your city council presidency, you earned it.
Wow, Rock Paper Scissors would have been better. At least it would have involved some thinking.
Well, the good news I suppose is the city council president in Havre de Grace is largely a ceremonial role – when the mayor isn’t present, he or she runs the meetings. Of course, that person also gets to put “city council president” on their resume and their re-election campaign materials too.
The major power of the Havre de Grace City Council President, which is annually a point of contention, is that he or she gets to pick the membership of each of the city’s various committees. Each year someone ends up on a committee they don’t want to serve on and complain about how someone else was given all the favorable committees to sit on.
There is a final benefit to being city council president, as we saw with the cautionary tale of John Correri. A few years back, the newly elected city council went into recess for hours to deliberate its new president. When they finally emerged from chambers, the vote was still tied, between Gary Wasielewski – the highest vote getter in each of his first two elections – and Correri – the longest tenured council member.
Then-mayor David Craig broke the tie by choosing Correri. A few months later, Jim Harkins bolted for a cushy state job offered by his buddy then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, Craig ascended to become Harford County Executive and, by charter, city council president Correri became mayor Correri.
I’m a bit surprised the city council presidency went to Cullum. He has held the position before, as have Joe Kochenderfer and Barbara Ferguson. It virtually never goes to a new electee, so Bill Martin couldn’t really have been considered and some might have thought Randy Craig was too inexperienced as well.
My money would have been on Jim Miller – an incumbent with former experience serving a partial term on the city council and the top vote-getter in this year’s election.
So who was on the flip side of Cullum’s coin?
Barry Anderson says
The more thimgs change, the more they stay the same.
There…I said it before and now I have said it again.
The Hose Company rules!
The small turnout sucks!
And the green grass grows all around…
Watch, ten years from now we will be looking back at this and wondering how things happened to turn out they way they did.
We will have 8500 new residents in HdG.
You and I will remember that we had a chance to make sure it happened according to some plan we all supported.
We won’t control our water.
The I95 Interchange will look like crap.
We’ll have the same old hobbiests and people who don’t understand retail business running most of the downtown businesses.
Streets and water and waste water pipes and sewers will truly be falling apart in worse shape than ever with even less money to fixem.
Developers will still drag the elected official around like dogs on a leash, only their won’t be anymore land for them to develop.
Most of the folks that voted in this election will be long gone.
And we will still have low turnouts for the elections, OR, the people on the HILL will have finally gotten smart and taken over the “AT LARGE” CITY COUNCIL and maybe, just maybe changed some of the above.
WE CAN REMEMBER WE HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE NEXT YEAR TO GET OUT AND VOTE FOR THE BEST AVAILABLE, SMARTEST, MOST EXPERIENCED NEW CANDIDATES WHO CAN BRING THEIR BEST TO THE COUNCIL.
And, as Smokey the Bear said, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”.
Ill just shut up. Its all being said.