Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An old fashioned political ritual: circulating petitions

In the age of the internet there is something beautifully anachronistic about this petition ritual, but it has its advantages—forcing candidates and their supporters to get out and talk to voters.

I’ve been doing petitions for decades –only missed when on sabbatical in 1999. The petition period always forces me to make choices about priorities. Whose petitions do I carry? Whose petitions do I care about enough to circulate in really cold weather? Or even in the rain? (I remember doing some for Cindy Bass on a rainy day just before the deadline.)Unfortunately the petition period occurs during the usually miserable weather of February and early March

This year I’ll be circulatingpetitions for candidate for controller Brett Mandel who probably doesn’t need my help as he appears to have assembled a really strong team.

Also, I will be circulating petitions for a progressive slate for traffic court—community activists Inja Coates and Marwan Kriedie. Yes, traffic court! It will probably be (and should be) eliminated but probably won’t happen overnight and we need thoughtful, honest people in these positions to help restore our city’s faith in our courts.

There are several other excellent candidates I would be happy to circulate petitions for but I’ve found that 3 is the maximum number you can ask people to sign without annoying them—and even that is pushing it.

The weather may be miserable, but I enjoy getting out and chatting with my neighbors and it’s a great way to find out what has been going on in the neighborhood. Sometimes it’s good news—e.g., a good friend’s delight in her new grandchild. Too often it’s news of a death. Since there are a lot of seniors in our neighborhood, there is always some sad news.

But petitions are part of the rhythm of life for political activists and for me February means petitions and early species crocuses!

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