In which I ponder

You are probably aware by now, one way or another, that my mayor is running for President. I’ve talked about it around here a bunch, I’ve donated money to his campaign a couple of times, and on my last candidate preference he was in second place. He has spent much of the time since then annoying me, but that’s another post.

Here’s the thing, though: South Bend needs a new mayor! And our mayoral elections are held the year before Presidential elections, so it’s this fall– and I believe early voting for the primary has already opened and the actual primary is May 7. There are, I think, nine Democrats running for mayor. The local Republicans have probably selected a local malcontent of one sort or another; they have not run a remotely credible candidate in something like twelve years, and that guy spent the entire election running against the city he supposedly wanted to run, and lo and behold we decided not to put him in charge of the thing he obviously hated.

(Which is another point in my long line of reasons to never vote for Republicans. Republicans believe that government is worthless and cannot do any good. Why, then, would I ever put one in charge of government? They will prove themselves right!)

Anyway, whoever wins the Democratic primary is going to be the new mayor. I don’t know who the Republican candidate is, but there’s only one and he’s gonna be some flavor of lunatic and about 20% of the population will vote for him and that’s gonna be it.

I have no idea who I’m going to vote for. Our local newspaper has been running profiles of the various candidates and is about halfway through them at the moment. I know two of the candidates personally (if you live around here, and you’ve ever seen a picture of Oliver Davis in a Santa suit, that’s my Santa suit) and have met a third a handful of times, which is really weird. Those three, plus the guy that Buttigieg has actually endorsed, are the four I’m looking at most closely right now, but I’m going to be paying attention to the Tribune profiles on the other four.

There has been no polling that I’m aware of. My gut tells me that James Mueller is probably the frontrunner just because of Buttigieg’s endorsement, but maybe not? I dunno. He sent out a pretty comprehensive mailer about his plans and ideas a week or so ago, and I liked what I saw, but I also feel like it’s time for South Bend to have a black mayor, and the other three candidates I’m looking at– Oliver Davis, Regina Williams-Preston, and Lyn Coleman– are all African-American.

So I’ve got some work to do. Road signs are starting to pop up all over town, so I need to start scouting out townhall meetings and seeing which candidates have credible websites and such. It’s a weird feeling, to really have no idea which of these four I ought to be pulling for. I mean, the presidential primaries don’t start for months and you go seven or eight candidates deep before I start getting into folks I don’t have opinions on. I need to hold the mayoral candidates to the same standard, I think.

UPDATE: I had a brief moment where I felt like maybe I was being unfair to Sean Haas, the Republican candidate. After all, when I wrote that paragraph up there I didn’t even know his name. So I looked him up, and this is literally the first thing that you see when you look at his website:

Two typos in your opening text is too many typos, and the rambling article that follows is an ungrammatical bloody mess. If you can’t find a proofreader for your website you don’t get to run my city. So. Bye, dude.

On politics, local and otherwise

556df89552158.imagestill have never received an “I VOTED!” sticker, by the way.

Surprising absolutely no one, including, one hopes, his opponent, Mayor Buttigieg was re-elected last night by a fairly astonishing 80-20 margin in an election with turnout so low that they mayoral election was determined on the basis of less than 11,000 votes.  One of which was mine.  As I’ve said before, one of the weird things about elections lately is that I’ve been in the weird position of knowing, or at least being acquainted with, many of the candidates.  I’ve known Mr. Buttigieg’s opponent for something like five or six years (and she is a crazy person par excellence; I suspect the vast majority of her votes were from people just voting straight ticket rather than voting for her specifically, and I can probably come pretty close to proving that with math if I need to) and I knew both candidates in one of the city council races and the winner in another.  I have not actually met the mayor, but your may recall that I nearly killed him once.

The last time this feeling was this strong was in 2008 and it was worse; not only had I been living in Barack Obama’s district when he was a state Senator and thus had already voted for him a couple of times, but I’ve met and talked with Jeremiah Wright and, well, take a look at the dedication page in Searching for Malumba if you’ve picked it up already.  Hell, I think you can get to it through the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon if you want.

I will say this: other than the mayor himself, our ballot was not exactly rich with fine public servants this time around.  In particular, the local Republican party badly needs a kick in the ass; this is the third election in a row, I think, where most races either went unopposed, meaning the Democratic primary was the actual election, or the Republicans ran a local malcontent or obvious lunatic for the role.  Mr. Buttigieg’s opponent had this to say about the mood of the city:

 Honestly, I think the city is just ready for someone who is just the average person. Someone that’s just like the rest of them.

Call me an elitist if you want, I’m fine with that, but shut the fuck up.  No, I do not want an average person to run my fucking city, and I sure as hell do not want someone who is “just like” the 90%-of-these-motherfuckers-didn’t-show-up-to-vote assholes who populate this place.  I want my town run by people who are visibly and clearly above average in a lot of ways.

Note that, for the record, I’m entirely capable of being critical of Democrats when they run afoul of my standards as well.  Remember, I lived in Chicago for ten years, so I know a corrupt Democrat when I see one, and the city’s being run by a cabal of corrupt scumbags even as we speak who have Ds next to their names.  One of the two city council races was populated by a local madman who has been arrested on a number of occasions and once posted a picture to his official Facebook page of a man fucking a dog.  His opponent, who I know, was mired in some ethics difficulties of her own, but frankly I accept her explanation for what was going on and she passes the “not obviously crazy” criterion which elevates her far above her opponent.  And she won by a 2:1 margin, too.

This is part of the reason I want a more functional local Republican party despite disagreeing with damn near every single one of their policy positions: because whenever you have one-party government, that party gets fat, lazy, and corrupt.  Better Republicans, please, but better Democrats too.

And, because I may as well go ahead and point this out: y’all who just met me as the proprietor of Infinitefreetime have not seen me during a Presidential election season yet.  Expect the number and volume of posts about politics to begin ramping up.  I’ve done my damnedest to keep politics to a minimum here (yes, that’s been a minimum) but that’s probably not going to last much longer.  For the record, I don’t really have a dog in the Democratic fight; I’ve had massive issues with Hillary Clinton in the past but she appears to have learned from previous mistakes and while I don’t like Bernie Sanders’ fans all that much (honest truth: they remind me of Hillary’s people from 2008) I have nothing against the man himself and I’ll vote for whichever of them wins the primary.  I don’t know who I’d vote for in the primary yet but there’s plenty of time before then.  I recognize that Martin O’Malley still thinks he’s a candidate, but… c’mon.

As far as the Republicans, I’d like it if they get over this thing they do at the beginning of every primary season and give each of the non-politician crazies a chance before setting on a politician who may or may not be crazy.  Trump appears to (finally!) be waning in favor of Ben Carson, who is not much better and may well not be better at all, and since Jeb! doesn’t really seem to actually want the job I expect the nomination to eventually go to Marco Rubio.  I have no idea how Ted Cruz even got elected in Texas; the man literally has the most punch-demanding face I’ve ever seen in my entire life and in general he has the look of someone who must have seawater poured over him by a slave with a silver cup every night in order to keep his outer covering moist and yet free of its natural protective layer of slime.

I will admit that a Presidential contest between a woman and a Latino (what’s Rubio’s precise background?  I should look him up.) would make me happy on some level.  I’m not including Cruz in this because he has to convince me he’s not a lizard before being half-Cuban counts.

The rest of those nitwits aren’t worth comment.

(NOTE: Rubio’s Cuban.  And an actual anchor baby, which I wasn’t aware of. Suddenly very curious about his position on immigration.)

In which it was almost a REALLY bad day

ICubsLarge spent a good chunk of my day at work yesterday not actually at work, but running various errands around town that took me out of the office– I had to deliver some stuff to another school, to pick up keys from another staff member’s wife (more essential, and also more ridiculous, than it probably sounds) and to drop some stuff off at the administrative offices downtown, because inter-school mail stops working over Winter Break and I needed them have the paperwork before we left.  I probably spent a third of the day in my car or otherwise out.

Our administrative offices are downtown.  South Bend’s downtown is not large, but it is much like other downtowns in that parking can be tricky because there are a lot of one-way streets and a lot of street parking.  I lived in Chicago for long enough that I can confidently declare myself the best parallel parker in the state of Indiana, so that’s not a worry, but there’s still lots of “Is that a space?  Will I fit there?  Wait, which way does this road go?  Can I turn right here?” going on while looking for a spot, and the fact that I can never exactly remember which east-west road forms the northern boundary of our administrative offices doesn’t help.  I tend to turn a block too early, which means I need to turn away from the office when I hit the street it’s on, which is annoying.  And I’ve done it enough times that I have only myself to blame.

Anyway. On one of my various turns and backtrackings I drove past the county courthouse.  The courthouse is directly across the street from the St. Joseph County Democrats’ headquarters.  I assume the mayor’s office is around there somewhere; probably in the same building the courthouse is in, or the County-City building, which is attached.  At any rate, I’m in the right lane, driving north, meaning there are parked cars to my right because it’s a one-way street.  I’m a little distracted in that looking-for-a-parking-space, kinda-not-certain-where-I’m-going way that one gets when looking for a spot in a downtown, slightly unfamiliar driving environment.

And somebody walks out between two parked cars in front of me.

This is less dramatic than it probably sounds; I stepped on the brakes and never got within five feet or so of him, and he realized immediately what he had done and shot me an apologetic little combined head-nod/bow thing.  He was never in any real danger, just one of those “OH SHIT oh we’re okay” sorts of moments that you get sometimes when you’re driving.

But I was close enough to him to recognize him, especially once I noticed that he was wearing a City of South Bend pullover– not exactly a garment I see on a lot of people around town.

I had just nearly run over Mayor Pete.

Who had been jaywalking.

Killing the mayor would probably have really screwed up my weekend.

In searching for an image to use with this post, I came across this parody Twitter account.  Which is not the mayor, obviously, but… well done.