Proving the old adage – “yard signs don’t vote” – to be true, Mike Eller and Steve Pierce, in spite of the fact that their campaign signs outnumbered those of their Democratic opponents by an order of magnitude (thanks to the support of several local landlords), came up short today in their joint quest for seats on Ypsilanti’s City Council. Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out about Eller’s history as the head of the ultra right wing America First Party of Michigan, and Pierce’s willingness to campaign alongside him, in spite of his troubling views on everything from gay rights and public transit, to recycling and the role of women in modern society. My faith in my community, despite many recent setbacks, is strong tonight.
Here are the final numbers for Ward 3:
Murdock 31, Eller 13, Windish 4.
Murdock 185, Eller 122, Windish 13.
Murdock 224, Eller 108, Windish 30.
Murdock 440, Eller 242, Windish 47.
Here are the final numbers for Ward 1:
Richardson 131, Bridges 48, Pierce 17.
Richardson 124, Bridges 30, Pierce 67.
Richardson 37, Bridges 15, Pierce 105.
Richardson 292, Bridges 93, Pierce 189.
While I am, of course, pleased that Mike Eller… and, by extension, Steve Pierce… did not win this time out, I don’t think this is any time to celebrate. The fact that a man who has said in the past that recycling is a Communist plot, and that we should allow our gay friends and neighbors to die of AIDS, should not, in any civilized community, be receiving 33% of the popular vote. I know that many of the 242 who cast their votes for him today, were not aware of his extremist views, but, sadly, many were. Many in our community chose to turn a blind eye to his outrageous beliefs because they felt that he would be an advocate for lower taxes, and I find that absolutely shameful. I can certainly understand why someone would want to pay lower taxes, but I cannot even begin to comprehend how one could allow that desire to overtake one’s life to the point where he or she is willing to enter into an alliance with an individual known to not only harbor, bur publicly express, racist, homophobic and sexist beliefs. That is completely beyond me. And I expect more from the people of Ypsilanti.
And, as we’ve discussed before, I think it was especially despicable that Eller, with the encouragement his supporters and advisors, like Steve Pierce and Karen Maurer, chose to run as a Democrat, in hopes of luring uninformed voters to his campaign. While I don’t think that we should necessarily go after those in our community who helped to perpetuate this charade, I do think that we need to be mindful of it, and plan accordingly as we move forward. Sadly, this is not going to end tonight. This has been building since the first Stop City Income Tax campaign, and, I’m afraid, we won’t see the end of it anytime soon. I know it’s hard to believe, but there are people, even right here, in our relatively progressive community, who would like to see public education ended, social services dismantled, public transportation stopped, civil rights protections rolled back, and the wall between church and state torn down. And, what’s more, they’re willing to do anything in their power to see this happen. What we saw unfold here in Ypsilanti is just one small example of what is playing out across the post-Palin United States, and we cannot afford to let our guard down, even when it comes to seemingly-inconsequential small town races like this. These elections do matter, immensely, and we need to acknowledge that, and act accordingly.
[NOTE: It’s not up to date at the moment, but, eventually, you’ll be able to find all of the elections results on the e-Washtenaw site… Also, as I understand it, congratulations are due to our friend Chuck Warpehoski, who, it would appear, has won his Ann Arbor City Council race.]