Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Going to Ballot Box Tuesday Is True Test of Love for City

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Going to Ballot Box Tuesday Is True Test of Love for City

Article excerpt

A FRIEND OF MINE, a fellow city dweller, tells me she's made up her mind on Tuesday's primary for mayor.

She's not going to vote.

My friend says she's tired of the charges and countercharges from the campaigns of Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. and former Police Chief Clarence Harmon. "Every time I turn on the television, there's another commercial with one candidate going after another candidate," she said. "That's not what I want to hear. I don't care about Clarence Harmon's sons, and I don't know what that has to do with someone being mayor. I don't understand what salt shakers have to do with someone being mayor, either. I'm pretty disgusted by the whole thing." My friend isn't unusual. People sometimes get completely turned off during nasty election campaigns, and this year's Democratic primary can be described as nothing but nasty. My friend referred to an ad for Bosley that goes after Harmon's two sons, alleging misconduct, and an ad for Harmon that says Bosley's ads are lies that should be taken "with a grain of salt." My friend tells me she'd like to see ads where the candidates talk about issues that the city is facing and what the candidates are going to do about them. She wants to know where the candidates stand on city services, on residency requirements, on the earnings tax that the city imposes. She wants to know what Bosley and Harmon are going to do about neighborhoods and about the number of people leaving the city. Instead, she's getting ads about school desegregation, an issue that no St. Louis mayor has any official involvement with. So she's going to stay home. That will be too bad. By staying home, or so say some political scientists, voters often play into the hands of some candidates who think they'll do better if there's a lower turnout. A candidate who thinks he's reached the zenith of his potential votes probably prefers to keep the numbers down on election day. Hopefully, neither of the candidates for mayor is so cynical. Still, by not voting, my friend will be doing nothing to help the city that she professes to care about. Indeed, she's a professional, and she's told me many times that she could easily leave the city and its problems to live in much more plush suburban surroundings. …

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