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Mayoral Candidate(s)

by on March 26, 2013

Buffalo could get something different in the upcoming mayoral election, namely a choice. It’s sort of supposed to be universal that there’s no reason for a vote if there’s just the one option. The city has gotten the results one would expect from a race with no silver medalist. Holding a slacker accountable is far easier when he’s not guaranteed to pass his job review.

It’s unfortunate that a second contestant is a novel occurrence. But nobody needs competition like the Queen City. A real opportunity to pick may lead to Buffalo having more retail battles, too, if only someone more friendly to business gets City Hall’s classiest office. A compelling personal story never hurts: an immigrant Marine with a master’s degree who has worked on behalf of veterans¬†represents the sort of ideal opposition to dull power you wish you could choose from a catalog:

Buffalo hasn’t had a Republican mayor in more than four decades. But that won’t deter Sergio Rodriguez.

The Republican running for mayor in the city knows he has an uphill battle, but Rodriguez says he isn’t going anywhere, despite some in his own party hinting that he should throw in the towel.

“There’s no one that could talk me out of it,” Rodriguez said.

Who would want to deliver such a talk? Sadly, the culprits are scoundrels who should presumably be his allies. Republicans should be a bit less eager to surrender. But some have made the ridiculous calculation that it’s better for other aspirants to let the uncoordinated Byron Brown shadowbox:

Rodriguez says some in the GOP have come to him and said he should not be running. However, he would not say who, other than to acknowledge that these Republicans are elected officials who are currently holding office.

So why does Rodriguez think some are worried about him running in the city? There’s some thought that a Republican running for Buffalo mayor could energize the Democratic base, and possibly cause problems for countywide Republicans like the sheriff and comptroller.

It’s hard to believe that a party whose officials display such a calculatingly craven approach has been out of power for so long. While pointing out that your side actually has to run a hopeful if there’s any hope of changing things should be redundant, the dysfunctional opposition apparently needs a reminder.

Besides, nervous Republican hopefuls should embrace the chance to run alongside an eager 32-year-old with dreams of municipal amelioration like Rodriguez. Uniting with someone of a similar philosophy to run as a package beats timidly hoping to sneak into office; the latter strategy does not bode well for one’s capacity for leadership.

And every Republican should presumably think that a mayor from the same party would improve the city. Rodriguez has already completed Step One, namely recognizing that things could be far better:

Rodriguez says he’s focused on city issues like the graduation rate and crime and says he’s running whether he gets GOP support in the city or not.

“Although, as faithful and loyal I’ve been to the party, I think these issues basically are more important than that of the long-term party objectives,” Rodriguez said. “We can’t afford to ignore an entire city population that’s facing these issues. So instead of protecting seats, we need to worry about what we can do to better our city.”

The first Republican possibility in awhile could change the scope not just by merely running but also with a compelling alternative vision for Buffalo’s future. At worst, it nice to have an alternative. Even if your peculiar taste causes you to prefer Dunkin’ Donuts, you should welcome a Tim Hortons in your neighborhood.

And maybe voters would at least be interested in hearing why they should take their ballot business elsewhere. Those whose selections have been taken for granted may be willing to try a mayor who didn’t let Occupy scum live in Niagara Square indefinitely while letting the rest of downtown remain far too barren. Those who foolishly trust the government to spur economic development don’t believe in its essential function of maintaining order.

It would be great to hear more policy specifics from Rodriguez as November nears. For now, just the prospect of an actual selection is always welcome, especially when the dubious incumbent shouldn’t even be allowed to walk unopposed.

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