Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Shunned" or Just Not a Credible Candidate?

According to this WXXI article by Alex Crichton, Chris Maj, the Red White and Blue candidate for Rochester mayor, claims he was "shunned by the leadership of the Rochester Rotary Club" by not being invited to participate in the Mayoral debate.

At the risk of sounding like a political elitist, I'm going to say some politically elite things.

There are times when non-viable candidates add value to the race. This is not one of those times. I admire Mr. Maj for his dedication and fortitude in his campaign for the mayor's office. I think it is important to realize, just as anyone can seek public office, you can't force everyone to sit there and entertain your ideas as if they have merit. Because, sadly in Mr. Maj's case, many of them don't.

Let's see what his website says. Some of these things aren't in the capacity of the mayor to accomplish. Hell, kings have had trouble accomplishing this much!

  • Develop a School of Agriculture to teach children how to grow their own food so we can make ourselves more self-sufficient. Use abandoned skyscrapers to grow food as hydroponic vertical gardens.

  • Increase student representation on the school board. Consider a completely student run school board as a complement to mayoral control of the schools.

  • Increase student representation on the school board. Consider a completely student run school board as a complement to mayoral control of the schools.

  • Create a 25% tax on all marijuana transactions. Require reasonably priced annual licenses for all marijuana producers. Only arrest those who fail to pay the fees or sell to children.

  • Make every roof a green one: plant a small garden on top of each building to prolong the life of the roof and create a beautiful skyline. Additionally, roofs with plants can reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer.

  • Seize all residential property not occupied by the owner within one year of the discovery of lead paint on the property, raze the building, and then turn it into a public vegetable garden. The use of eminent domain to seize delinquent landlord property is justified in the case of lead paint because of the proven harm it causes to children.

He has some fresh ideas, I guess you can say. Not sure what exactly this all accomplishes. If we make Rochester look like some Utopia-in-the-works, as if it were plucked out of some first-season episode of Star Trek (the original, because these ideas would so fit right in with Shatner's acting), would that really attract jobs to Western New York? Or would everyone hold their breath and wait for the mess that the student-run school board makes of things?

This one really stuck out for me:
Instruct city police officers to actively oppose federal or state interference by following new city ordinances that put non-violent drug possession crimes at the lowest level of enforcement priority. Allow for dumping of small amounts of drugs by the police. As of August, the California Highway Patrol has ordered its officers to stop confiscating medical marijuana during routine traffic stops, so an alternate strategy is legally possible. And if necessary, organize militias of city residents for protection from federal or state interference.

Uh, did he just say what I think he said? We are to.... wait for it... take up arms against state and federal officials? I think that's what he means. If not he should consider clarifying that. I mean, I have a degree in English and I'm a pretty good reader and all, but I hope I misread that.

Makes you wonder why he was shunned by The Rochester Rotary Club.

However, I am a silver lining kind of guy. I did like this:
Replace all city computer systems running Microsoft Windows and other proprietary operating systems with free and open source alternatives like the Free/Net/OpenBSD and GNU/Linux operating systems. Draft students from area universities to first assist city government officials in the process, and then keep them in the loop as the changes are rolled out to city schools. Provide them with housing incentives to stay and work in the city upon graduation.
Well, the market should be able to provide the housing incentives. But what I liked was deployment of opensource software. I suspect that there are real savings to be had by moving away from Microsoft related products and relying more on opensource and Linux based packages. I've switched over to in most of my home office uses and I'm very happy. My old laptop that could barely run Windows 98 is cruising wirelessly using Damn Small Linux, so he makes some sense here.

Not enough to get him an invitation to a debate, but still, good enough to get a nod from me. Which is nice.


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