Friday, June 04, 2010

Reelect Joe Keenan

Just a note that on Tuesday I'm voting for my 3rd ward councilman, Joe Keenan. Elizabeth is a Democratic city, so a contested primary is the election. Joe is a very accessible guy, on Facebook, gives out his phone number, has monthly ward resident meetings at branch library, there's almost always someone there from City Hall, including the Mayor on several occasions. The Mayor also resides in this ward. I took a long-standing & legit gripe I had about the library website to Joe, & he got on it immediately, & it turned out to be fixable problem, & now I can almost always sign on my library account, renew my books, & do searches. I don't expect a council rep to work miracles. They don't have control over the city budget. The best they can do is try to bring home their share of it in street paving, police protection, flood control projects, tree trimming, snow plowing, those sorts of tasks. & maybe guide the way through bureaucratic mazes. & listen to constituent neighbors.

It helps that Joe is well-read man, former library director, bookseller, degree in English Lit. from Catholic U In D.C., which I happen to know has an excellent English Dept. I've haven't met many local politicians anywhere who read well & widely. A conservative school, like most Catholic colleges, but my honey Susan Sarandon is an alumnus. So is Maureen Dowd, & radical feminist theologian Mary Daly. & Notre Dame U president emeritus Theodore Martin Hesburgh, who said, "Education is the only thing people are willing to pay for and not get." But if you wanted it, you could get a fine one at his Notre Dame after he'd been running it for a few years. Someday I'll introduce myself to Joe in person & we'll discuss our favorite Beat Generation writers, & I'll tell Joe that the Museum of American Poetics now categorizes me broadly as a "post-beat poet," which amuses me. I wanted to write like a male version of Diane Wakoski, definitely not beat, who had rock star status to me when I was 21.

In his previous election, Joe ran to unseat a long-time incumbent, who cared about the ward but was so alienated from the majority city hall regime that he'd become completely ineffective. The primary was so close & disputed that the court ruled it a tie & ordered another special election. I didn't vote in that first election. Joe won the re-vote. It was a lesson for me in the power of a single vote.

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