I had a GREAT time at the Akron Mayoral debate last night in Ward 5 at Robinson CLC. I truly believe we are going to get a Black mayor in Akron. That excites me a great deal. I hope that inspires some new voters to come out and get in the game on May 2, 2023.
This is the order of who I would vote for right now. I believe we need ranked choice voting to make all of our votes matter more. So if we had that, this is the order I would put them in:
First: Tara Mosely. She CLEARLY is the most ready for this job. She is a very active and engaged member of city council. She's in the game. She is a 3-term Akron City Councilwoman. She's ready. She's smart. She would be good for Akron. My biggest concern is that she isn't widely known all over Akron.
Second: Marco Sommerville. This guy is so likable. That is really important in a popularity contest like democracy. He has previously served as Planning Director, City Council President, Ward Councilman, and Akron NAACP president. He's currently the deputy mayor for intergovernmental affairs. He's got a lot of experience. But he feels more like a statesman where Tara feels like she's actively in the fight. I'm really worried about all the money pouring into his campaign. Those rich business owners don't flood your campaign with tons of money for nothing. They want a return on investment. But I got to talk with him a little last night and it was good. He publicly said that the names of the police who killed Jayland Walker should be put out in public. I REALLY appreciated that.
Third: The more I get to know Shammas Malik the less I like him. He's just not good one on one. To the point where I wonder if he might have some actual difficulty with that kind of engagement. But he's good on stage. Ward 8 constituents tell me he has come out to talk with them when they have a problem (most of the time). I think he's trying too hard to be a "politician". He's in his head too much. He needs to get in his heart more. But as a highly educated, highly academically intelligent person I don't think he puts much weight on emotions and following your heart. We could have a worse mayor.
Fourth: Jeff Wilhite is a nice guy. That's the biggest thing I can say about him. He wasn't memorable. I really can't recall anything he said other than we need to talk more to each other. I'm tired of talk. I want action. This guy isn't going to win. But he is the token white guy. Ellet is going to vote for him because they don't have anyone else to vote for. I'd say 20% of Akron is very racist. They won't vote for someone who is a Muslim, a woman or a Black person. Wilhite is all they have left. He's going to pick up the racist vote. I definitely don't have any indication that he is racist. But that will be a big chunk of his vote.
Fifth: Keith Mills is great. I REALLY liked his presentation. He has gone from being homeless to having his masters degree. He teaches up in Cleveland. He also had a harrowing story of a home invasion where he had to scare someone out of his house. If he gets the politics bug I think he'd be an EXCELLENT school board person. I'd love to see him try for that next.
Sixth: Joshua Schaffer made the entire night for me. He was quick witted. And he came out fighting. He had some really great zingers against Shammas and Marco. It took a lot of guts to do what he did up there. He's really into green spaces and green jobs which is super cool. He's not going to win. But I really hope he doesn't quit. He feels like a quirky Dennis Kucinich, maybe. He's brave and exciting and thoughtful. I really want to see him try for more political positions.
Undecided: Mark Greer - When I started writing this post I was going to put him at spot 3. I LOVED his ideas, his presence. I loved everything about him. But then I read this article:
I think he got shafted by the Horrigan administration because he dared to go against the ordained choice for mayor, Sommerville. That makes me like him more. The issue I had is that he votes Republican in primaries and he's running as a Democrat. I HATE when people do that. I know they do it because people only vote for Democrats in Akron and they often do so blindly. But there are currently people on city council that do this too. It's a lie. It's deceiving. It's pure political bullshit. It drives me nuts. Russ Neal wants to do away with partisan voting in Akron. Just take away the R and D from peoples' names like we do with judges. It's meaningless in Akron. I'll gladly help support that cause with Russ if I become the Ward 8 council person. But Mark Greer should have either run as a Republican or as an Independent. He's just not a Democrat.