Starting A Conversation

It’s been said that if you aren’t making someone upset, then you aren’t making someone else happy. While yesterday’s announcement was met with quite a bit of enthusiasm, there were some people who seemed to have a real problem with something I have absolutely no control over, my age. Yes, I’m 32 years old. Current Mayor Callahan and past Mayor Cunningham were both within two years of my age when they won their respective races for mayor. The median age of the city is 35.7 years old. Let’s stop with the ageism.

Another question that has been asked, and rightfully so, is what qualifies me to be mayor? Quite a lively discussion ensued on a friend’s Facebook wall last night asking about my executive experience, especially in running a city. Since no current candidate in this mayoral race has executive experience in city government, what should those qualifications be? Unfortunately, the person who asked some very pointed questions last night has deleted them so I can’t address them individually, so I’ll ask you: What is enough for someone to be a legitimate candidate for mayor? Let’s discuss it.

While we’re on the topic of discussions, what are things that you want to talk about? Do you have concerns about the city, or me, that you want to bring to the forefront? I won’t be responding to ad homenim attacks, because those don’t advance the conversation, but I’m not above discussing any serious issues. Leave a note in the comments below, on FacebookTwitter, and be sure to say hi at Tapas on Thursday from 5 – 8.

facebook.com/dietrichforbethlehem
@Dietrich2013

7 thoughts on “Starting A Conversation

  1. If you truly wanted to run the city of Bethlehem, why didn’t you follow the Democratic Process of running in the Primary Election like all of the other Mayors you listed? Also, it’s ageism when you imply that since you’re younger than Bob Donchez, you’d be a better mayor for the city. If people verbalize questions or complaints in a manner that you deem as an “Attack”, you’re going to ignore their concerns? You asked us a question. “What is enough for someone to be legitimate candidate for Mayor?” A legitimate candidate for Mayor would have gone through the political process and gotten on the ticket, rather than wait until the last minute to announce he wants to be a write in candidate. Wait 4 years and go head to head with Reynolds and Donchez like a real mayoral candidate would.

    • Thanks for posting Kyle. As an Independent (no-party) candidate, I am not allowed to participate in a primary election. That’s a rule put in place by the state. As someone who has been registered “no party” since I was 18, it’s something I’m very familiar with. Another Independent candidate did go through the process of getting on the ballot, but had to drop out of the race for health reasons.
      I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I am a better candidate because I’m younger. What I have seen quite a few people say is that because I am young that immediately disqualifies me.
      I will certainly respond to questions, as I have with yours. I won’t be replying to comments along the lines of “you don’t like donuts, so everything you say is wrong” (for the record, I enjoy donuts).

        • But, isn’t there a system in place to allow Independents to be placed on the ballot by filling out nomination papers and attaining signatures? Bethlehem consistently has a low voter turnout in non-presidential deciding elections, so the signatures required to get on the ballot shouldn’t be impossible like it could seem in a major city

          • There certainly is a way for an Independent to get on the ballot, though just like for a party candidate, there are deadlines. Conversations about the race that inspired me to put my name out there happened after the deadline to file. Just because you can’t do something the traditional way doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

  2. Write ins are part of the process, they are a common practice in many communities. In the small borough of Chapman in the NW part of this county people are rarely on the ballot most often offices are filled by write ins on election day. All across this great republic write ins are a respected tradition.

  3. One of the best paragraphs I’ve ever read about political leadership and meritocracy:

    “No one would advocate staffing the country’s ministries with wealthy imbeciles, as was the custom under George W. Bush; but the President — a meritocrat himself — has succumbed to what might be called the “complexity complex,” which leads us to assume that public policy is so complicated that you need a stack of degrees to figure it out. But major political questions are rarely complex in that sense. They are much more likely to be complicated, in the Avril Lavigne sense, meaning that they involve reconciling disagreements among competing stakeholders — or, as the situation may demand, ratcheting them up.”

    What qualifies someone to run for Mayor is having well-formed views on which sets of stakeholder interests should be prioritized or sublimated to make the city a better place, and a desire to seek out win-win deals as a first resort, but not insist on them to make progress. Bethlehem is at a cross-roads where the work of getting more investment and more population growth is going to require politically difficult choices about what kind of city people want, and Bob Donchez has shown throughout his career that he cowers at these kinds of choices. The next Mayor needs to be able to pick a direction and move on it.

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