For those of you who read my blog and aren’t from my city, I’m so sorry to bore you with our local politics. But, if you glean anything from my posts during our election season, let it be to GET INVOLVED in your own local politics. They are so very important. More important than our national politics. It’s what directly affects your daily life and the lives of those around you. Because in all seriousness, there are thousands of Trumps sitting on city councils across our country and they make very important and disastrous decisions for millions of Americans. And that’s not okay.
Last night I attended a really cool event that was hosted by AltDaily, a local online news source, at O’Connor Brewery. All of the candidates running for city council were there and they each circulated around tables where residents and voters were sitting drinking beer to basically “speed date” us. They got to pitch their ideas and stump speeches and we got to ask them questions and voice our concerns. And did I mention that we all were drinking beer and made new friends in our city? It was awesome. As you can imagine, there were some candidates who were very uncomfortable in this setting. Beer? Constituents? Listening? Poor Barclay Winn.
First, it solidified who I will and definitely who I will NOT be voting for. Sitting with the candidates and having conversations with them instead of listening to stump speeches helped me to see that 1. not many of them stand out as offering anything different and amazing in my super ward, and 2. some of them are absolutely clueless and balls-to-the-wall unqualified to be on city council. That’s kind of important to know before I vote and I wish you all could have been there.
The most interesting moment of the evening happened when I approached one of the candidates running for mayor, Andy Protogyrou, and an incumbent council member, Angelia Graves. I had already drank a fantastic beer so I was feeling feisty and ready to talk about gardens and chickens and reasons why so many residents of Norfolk are disillusioned with our council, so maybe they saw me coming from a mile away. When I started talking they gave each other this knowing look, as if they communicated to each other, “Oh lawd, another one of these young people who have no idea what they’re talking about. Lets say some shit and get outta here.” And that just egged on my feistiness. When I told Protogyrou that I hadn’t made up my mind about who I would be voting for mayor, he said, “Do you read the Pilot? Did you read their coverage of the three candidates? Because if you did, then you’d be able to see that I’m the obvious right choice.” Oh, yes, please condescend to me, that will surely win my vote. When I voiced my concern over the money being spent downtown and at the beach and not many places in between, he got snarky about his success at Ward’s Corner, which was fantastically done, and how I wouldn’t have backyard chickens if it wasn’t for him and Graves. Oh how I love being condescended to over beer and speed dating. Please, speak more of your ass-hatery over me. But it really got good when I pointed out that Kenny Alexander has connections to Richmond and DC that entice me to vote for him. Protogyrou raised his voice and said, “That’s such a scare tactic. If Kenny has all of these connections to federal and state money, then why in the hell hasn’t he brought it here yet? Huh? Why in the hell hasn’t he brought it here? Ask him that!” And he and Angelia began to walk away from me.
Well then. That’s certainly a good question, but it lost him my vote. I have done a lot of reading and researching and speaking to the candidates, Kenny being one of them as well, and not once was I so demeaned and condescended to before speaking to Protogyrou. I do think that there is an entitlement and elitism that many of our council members suffer from. And that is not good. Protogyrou and Graves suggested that Alexander only won the state senate because he relied on and pandered to the black vote and didn’t have to work for it, and suggested that that is what he’s doing in Norfolk. I have to tell ya, acting like voters, especially black voters, are not smart is not okay. Angelia Graves depends HEAVILY on the black vote being in super ward 7. Are her constituents not smart for voting her in? I certainly wouldn’t vote for her. And Protogyrou? Well, I do not believe he should be our mayor. I believe that Kenny Alexander has the demeanor, the ideas and outside influence that our city needs. I also believe that this good-old-boy council needs to be broken up. Fresh blood needs to be brought in. I’m not suggesting that Protogyrou and Graves are likened to Trump. I am suggesting, however, that we need to be mindful of city politics and how there are very elitist, entitled, and racist people in power all across our country.
So, with that, let me leave you with my endorsements. I will be voting for Andria McClellan for city council in super ward 6 and Kenny Alexander for Mayor. And if you live in super ward 7, please consider voting for Billy Cook. He was the stand out candidate for city council. He is running to replace Angela Graves and boy does our council need it.