To the Editor:
One of the best things about our city has been its non-partisan politics.
Dublin is better governed, and more pragmatically governed, than many other cities in central Ohio, in large part because our City Council candidates have run on their merits rather than on the basis of party or ideology, and because our council and city commissions have been staffed by people of all political persuasions (including independents), not by a select few picked by party caucuses.
There is, however, a nationwide effort to turn nonpartisan races partisan, even in local elections, and to use partisan endorsements, mailings, and robo-calls to elect handpicked candidates.
Dublin narrowly avoided that fate in the last election, because two of the candidates refused to accept partisan endorsements and asked the members of Dublin's party committees to stay out of the race, which the committees agreed to do.
This year, unfortunately, the Republican Party has decided to throw its full weight behind four of the candidates for Dublin City Council. This is a sad turn of events.
It can't be justified by a desire to defeat Democrats -- to my knowledge, there aren't any Democrats in the race.
The purpose appears to be to defeat the two registered independents who are running for council, who have far more distinguished records of service in the city of Dublin over the past decade -- in our schools, churches, volunteer organizations, and city government -- than the party's handpicked candidates.
And the purpose appears to be to defeat Republican candidates with exceptional records of service who party insiders reject as being either too moderate or too far to the right for their tastes.
The goal, quite simply, is to ensure that Dublin is no longer governed by a council that reflects our community's diversity, but one that toes a party line embraced by only a small percentage of the city's voters.
I am not calling for the wholesale defeat of the candidates that the Republican Party has endorsed, but I hope voters will give a fair hearing to candidates who did not seek or qualify for endorsements by the Republican Party.
And I hope that in the future, Dublin's party committees will stay out of our elections, so council campaigns can remain grass-roots, door-to-door, locally financed, and responsive to the needs of Dublin's businesses and residents.
Dublin is unique because it is at once progressive and conservative, traditional and cutting-edge, entrepreneurial, innovative, and green.
It takes all of us to build that kind of community and to lead that community, not a partisan few.