There are several communities and neighborhoods that don’t have elected committee people, because most people don’t run for these seats any more, and far too many others have self-serving people in these slots who only care about themselves.
My understanding is that it cost $5,000 to seek the endorsement. The reason many candidates are no longer seeking the endorsement is that after giving that money, if you lose the endorsement, you lose the money you gave, plus now you have to come out of your pockets to finance your campaign against the better funded Party endorsed candidate. Plus, recently more and more unendorsed candidates are winning, mostly because of the flawed committee system, which doesn’t take into account what the people want. This should be sending a loud message to the Party.
Running a campaign at any level is becoming more and more expensive, in many cases the person with the deepest pockets wins instead of the best candidate, which is leading to fewer and fewer people coming to the polls because they see what’s going on.
That is the case of Lavelle vs. Payne. He now has to dig into his pockets and ask people for money, while she gets a free ride despite being told clearly by the people in the past two elections that we don’t want her to represent us.
The Ward Chairs are no longer putting the interest of the people ahead of their own. Not only are the few committee people out there not concerned about their community and the general public but fewer and fewer people are choosing to run for these slots because they either see no benefit to them, or they see the corruption and greed in these positions and choose not to be a part of it.
This is not just happening in the Black communities, it’s all over the city. It’s just more prominent in Black communities.
The system is broken, and some drastic changes need to be implemented to bring back the trust of the average voters across the city and county. This is supposed to be a democratic system where the community selects its representatives through the voting process. The day of a few handpicked people in a smoked filled room selecting them needs to end. Have an open election and let the people pick their representative. We need to eliminate Party endorsements all together or fix the committee system.
(Ulish Carter is managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)