“don’t be afraid, it’s just democracy”

Thanks to the efforts of many very talented volunteers, the 2006 Ypsilanti Mayoral Debate site has gone live. Some tweaking still needs to be done, but we didn’t want to wait any longer. If you have thoughts on additional content, possible edits, etc, just let me know… Also, we’ve launched the blog, on which we’ll be posting all of the questions we get from the community. (note: A link to one or both would be appreciated, if you have an Ypsi-based site.)

Speaking of questions from the community, we’ve also begun distributing the comment drop-boxes around town. So far, we have them at the EMU library, Bombadill’s, the Corner Brewery and the Ugly Mug. Tomorrow, if all goes well, they’ll also be installed at the senior center in Recreation Park, the Ypsi Housing Commission office, Chidester Place, the Hope Clinic, the Michigan Avenue branch of the public library, the South Grove Community Center, the Ypsi Food Co-op, 401 W. Michigan Ave, one of laundromats on the south side of town, and the Rutherford Pool. (There will also be one that travels between the Depot Town farmers’ market and the one downtown.)

There was quite a bit of debate within the planning committee concerning how many of these boxes we should make and where they should be located. Ultimately, we decided that 15 was about the most we could reasonably manage, and we’re trying as best we can to spread them out in such a way that they come in contact with all the various constituencies within our community, several of which are historically under-represented in the local political discourse. I’m sure our list of locations isn’t perfect, and I’m sure there are some fairly significant gaps, but, on the whole, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of setting this campaign up so that it’s visible across a pretty wide cross-section of Ypsi’s citizenry. Now we just have to wait and see who, if anyone, decides to approach one of the boxes, read the information, and then take the time to leave a comment… If nothing else, it’s an interesting experiment in grass-roots participatory democracy. (I should add that we’ll also be issuing a press release indicating the locations of these drop boxes.)

For those of you not near one of our 15 drop-boxes, you can also send potential debate questions via the web. Just email them to: ymdc06@umich.edu.

Oh, as for the title of this post, it comes from something that I said to the folks working at the Ugly Mug. When I came in, asking if I could leave my box, they looked at me like I was up to something. I think they thought I was some kind of scam artist, wanting to leave a phony “my baby needs new lungs” donation box for people to stuff dollar bills into. So, I walked them through everything, ultimately handing the box over and saying, “Don’t be afraid, it’s just Democracy. It can’t hurt you.” I liked the phrase and wanted to be sure that it was recorded somewhere. (And now it is.)

One last thing, if you haven’t put the debate on your calendar yet (7:00 to 9:00 the evening of Thursday, July 27 at EMU’s McKenny Union), please do. It’ll be good. I promise.

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3 Comments

  1. leighton
    Posted July 13, 2006 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    FYI:

    Dear Residents and Friends of Normal Park,
    On Thursday, July 20 the NPNA board has organized a candidates forum so
    that people can come and find out more about the candidates running for
    Mayor of Ypsilanti and City Council from Normal Park. Mayoral
    candidates Paul Schreiber, Lois Richardson, and Steve Pierce and city
    council candidates Bill Nickels, John Bailey, and Tom Bagwell will all
    be attending, and you all are invited as well.
    We especially encourage all of you to submit questions for the
    candidates in advance, since with six candidates there will be a lot to
    cover in a short amount of time! (We expect the event to go from 7 to 9
    pm.) If there are issues of particular concern to you about the city or
    neighborhood, please drop me a line at sean.stidd@juno.com and let me
    know what your concerns and questions are – we will do everything in
    our power to ask the relevant candidates your questions at the event.
    Each candidate will have five minutes to introduce themselves at the
    beginning, and the remaining hour and a half will be for your questions.
    Hope to see as many of you there as can make it! The forum will be held
    at the Senior Center on Congress Street.
    Sincerely,
    Sean Stidd
    NPNA Co-President

  2. UBU
    Posted July 13, 2006 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    If only you could teach Clementine to kill politicians you wouldn’t need to have a debate…

    Sincerely,
    Some Studd
    Vice Chairman of the Central Commitee for Public Safety

  3. mark
    Posted July 13, 2006 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Clementine as Manchurian Candidate?

    As for neighborhood associations having events, I think it’s great. The more of these things that pop up, the better.

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