In Akron, this saying is very important to remember: "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Don Plusquellic created a machine in Akron.
He was Mayor of Akron between 19872015. He was our mayor for 28 years.
A lot can happen in nearly 3 decades.
What mostly happened was that power was centralized and monopolized.
After he completely locked down controlling his administration he then turned his sights on the City Council.
Akron City Council is made up of 10 Ward Leaders (people that represent different areas of the city) and 3 "At Large" Members.
City council members make $34,694. The council president makes $44,616 (Margo Sommerville). They all get free health insurance and free phones. These are part time jobs. Pretty much the only thing you are required to do is show up on Monday nights at 7pm to vote on things and maybe show up to a committee meeting if you happen to be on one.
As an aside, you should know that Bob Keith is not an elected official. He is appointed, makes over $80,000 a year and gets a free car. According to this article, he has been the Clerk of Courts since 2009 and started with a salary of $75,358. I don't know what his health insurance is. But in the city business they seem to throw around free health insurance like Oprah throws around new cars. I'm quite sure he doesn't pay a dime for health insurance.
The median income in Akron is $35,240 (just barely more than the part time salary of a city council member). Health insurance, cars and mobile phone bills are extra.
There is so much to be angry about. I digress... Back to the most dangerous people you can vote for.
Let me show you this picture again:
The guy on the right is our mayor, Dan Horrigan.
The 3 people on the left want to be the 3 At-large city council members.
Jeff Fusco already has the spot currently and has been a career politician since 1986.
Marilyn Keith was the Ward 8 leader and now is trying to be an at-large council member. And Ginger Baylor is new to the game.
There is one purpose for these 3 at-large spots: VOTES.
They get 3 out of 13 votes in city council.
It's also a sweet gig because no one calls them. They live in fairly general obscurity making money, getting free health insurance and building up retirement accounts. (Oh yeah, all these people are eligible for juicy retirement accounts.)
This voting power is INCREDIBLY important and why I wanted to write this post.
If you haven't seen those Baylor, Fusco, Keith signs in Akron you haven't been outdoors in the last couple weeks. They are everywhere.
Those signs are full color and BIG and EVERYWHERE.
Signs like that don't grow on trees. They are created with money. Lots and lots of money.
Dan Horrigan and his machine (it's just the machine Don Plusquellic built) is funneling all the money into those 3 people.
It's really difficult to raise money as a council person because most people don't know who you are. So, if you aren't in with the guy that has all the money you usually have to use your own money.
Dan Horrigan is running those 3 people.
But he's not doing it out of the kindness of his heart. He's doing it because he wants something in return. He wants votes for his projects.
When the time comes he won't even have to make a phone call to those people. They will know what to do.
And what do you think will happen if they don't make the right votes? Next time someone else's name is going to be on that big, pretty, full color sign.
The Tuesday May 7, 2019 primary election is going to have incredibly low turnout, and the voters are going to be MUCH older than the average Akron voter.
The people that will vote will be institutional voters. They will be all the people that have jobs in the government. These people want to keep their jobs and don't want to risk rocking the boat. They'll vote for who they are supposed to vote for.
This is SO IMPORTANT because those 3 people aren't beholden to you, the voter. They are beholden to Dan Horrigan. They aren't going to vote for things that are good for the people. They are going to vote for things that are good for Dan Horrigan and his legacy.
If you want to fight against a machine that doesn't care about poverty, minority rights, gun violence, crime and homelessness and even smooth roads and speeding drivers down residential streets then:
VOTE NO on Baylor.
VOTE NO on Fusco.
VOTE NO on Keith.
They aren't bad people they are just not going to look out for your interests. They are only going to look out for Dan Horrigan's interests.