No Elections, But Why?
At the penultimate council meeting, I brought up what I wrote in my previous letter: that no one chose to run in the most recent election campaign for mayor and council is a municipal embarrassment that stifles progress. I stated that one major barrier for anyone choosing to run is that council pay works out to be less than $10/hour, despite the position’s responsibility. Very few competent working-class folks are going to elect to trade off career and family for that pittance, despite how virtuous a calling public service may be.
Mayor Henderson dismissed my assertion in his characteristically affable manner that the uncontested election was instead due to a political climate that has made people wearisome. When I looked around the audience, I saw enough heads nodding in agreement that I want to openly dispute his claim.
St. Pete is a suitable proxy since they are our next door neighbor and their elections were just a few months ago. In last year’s primaries there were nine candidates vying for mayor and between four-five candidates vying for each council position. Compare that to none in Gulfport. Yes, zero. In light of this, Mayor Henderson’s claim of a wearied populace has no merit.
But we must be shrewd enough to see through this and realize that it’s the community at large who is harmed. We ought to demand that city hall acknowledges this raceless race as an abject institutional failure and address the three root causes of low pay, establish term limits, and increase term durations. We must bring all three outdated holdovers up to contemporary standards or be left behind. –Greg Simek, Gulfport
In the Jan. 13 edition, we mistakenly identified a picture of Marra Piazza Brass’ tie-dyed hand as signing “I love you”, but rather than the rock ‘n’ roll sentiment intended. To sign “I love you”, this hand would have had the thumb extended. The Gabber regrets the error.