by Chad Ingold, teacher at Open High and former mayoral candidate
I am no politician, I’m not into politics and I generally believe political factions (parties) have not served the people but rather continue to serve an ever changing political ideology designed to benefit few at the expense of many. The mayoral election now offers us candidates that seem to represent the same interests and/or failed ideologies of the past. We even have a real live “criminal” to round out the selection.
In the midst of all of this it may seem difficult to choose a person of quality and character. But please Richmond, do not give up hope. We don’t have to settle for less. We don’t need to settle with a candidate that glitters but is hardly gold. Jon Baliles is a candidate that is a cut above, and apart, from the mess that much of this election cycle has offered.
He has offered clear plans to meet the funding needs of Richmond Public Schools in order to present a clear and strong vision for the future of the schools. Jon has also offered solutions and strategies to deal with other issues in the city as well. (I.e. vacant, decrepit buildings, the negative effects of “gentrification”, and even grass and potholes). Jon has laid out clear plans on his website and I ask you to read for yourself. Jon Baliles is a person who is, not only willing to listen, he is a person who integrates what he hears into a vision for RVA that includes all its citizens.
I’m not used to being in a position where my opinion on a mayoral election may be important. I have no interest in polls when I am deciding who to vote for. “Politics are funky,” a student just said to me. They certainly are. I haven’t scoured the results of the polls to come out about the mayoral election, I have paid little attention to the “big-name” endorsements or publicity stunts that have tried to consume our attention. I keep my own council when deciding who to vote for.
I have three young children at home, and beyond social media, I find little time to involve myself in the “politics” of this election. I find it contrived and rather tasteless. All the more so during this current election cycle. I am looking for leadership, not politics. I am looking for practical ideas, not politicians selling the ideal.
As I have looked over what the candidates have written and listened to what they have said, only a couple have emerged as candidates that offer a plan, as well as a vision, for for the City Richmond. Jon Baliles is the only candidate that is talking about what he has done for Richmond, what he is doing for Richmond, and what he will do for Richmond.
Most of all, Jon has been dependable, time and time again, as a strong proponent for Richmond Public Schools. Jon has offered a strong funding plan that was quickly co-opted by the others.
The main criticism I have heard about the current mayoral election is that candidates have offered little in terms of actual policy. The most popular sentiment among mayoral candidates seems to be “I definitely won’t be like the last guy!” Many of the candidates give me several reasons to be wary of that promise.
Baliles has continually, and consistently, laid out policy driven plans to address the myriad of issues which RVA must contend. This is the reason why a majority of the candidates continue to choose Jon Baliles as the person they would most like to work with. When the opinions of a large consensus of mayoral candidates consolidate around one person then that should be indicative to most that Jon Baliles is just the person to lead this City.
Now, people are looking to the “polls” to gain some sort of guidance as to who is a safe bet for their vote. Is that how we do it now? Who votes according to polls anyway? It’s not a horserace, its our government. It’s not a vote for popularity or a casino game. It’s not a hashtag or a social media comment. It’s a process that is meant to assure the prevention of the abuse of power by those who would seek to rule our government through force and guile.
Let’s vote for the candidate that we want to, based on the qualifications that we think are important to the job. I believe that candidate to be Jon Baliles.
— ∮∮∮ —
Photo via Jon Baliles for Mayor
A few weeks ago I published A case for Joe Morrissey. Not an endorsement, it was for me a way of sharing what struck me as an important understanding of his candidacy. After that published, I reached out to others for words on other candidates. Thad Williamson wrote a piece in favor of Levar Stoney. The above is Chad Ingold’s response in support of Jon Baliles.