The following letter was submitted to the Erie Times-News by Marshall Mack of Erie, in response to the editorial board’s endorsement. The Erie Times-News will not print it since there is less than a week until the election, so we are sharing it here.
Letter to the Editor:
First off, I must say that the coverage of the mayoral candidates in the Erie Times News over the past several months has been excellent. They have clearly shared the questions and answers, and their individual editors have chimed in time and again about the need for change, for new vision, and for a shock to the status quo. However, their endorsements of the Democratic candidates send a very different and disconcerting message: vote for the wealthy, white, male (the exact opposite of what they have been advocating for) and most status quo candidates that are running. The ETN is not endorsing the bold change that our city needs.
Their own article on Saturday (5/6) and their endorsement on Sunday (5/7) clearly indicated that they support the candidates that are trying to buy the mayoral office in City Hall. The Democratic candidate they endorsed has, as of 5/4/17, spent more than $110,000 (including at $75,000 contribution from his own account) – almost four times the average annual salary for an Erie resident. Collectively, the top-four, spending Democratic candidates have disbursed almost ten times what a household in Erie makes. It is nothing short of indecent and also a clear indication that those who have that kind of money are really out of touch with the average citizens of Erie – especially those of us who will be casting a vote on May 16th.
For those of you that are wondering, I support Almi Clerkin. In fact, if you were to take the article written about the Democratic candidate the ETN endorsed, and replace his name with “Almi Clerkin” and his work experience with “Executive Director of the Erie Playhouse,” you wouldn’t have to change much else; except for the age, of course, as Almi is more than a decade younger than her retired competitor.
Clearly, the ETN is not holding to its own criteria. Almi is well qualified, experienced, prepared, enthusiastic, and has the vision that Erie needs in a leader. She’s old enough and connected enough to the Erie community to know where and how to build collaborations and cooperative enterprises, yet still young and energetic enough to get things done. She has not self-funded her campaign and has run a clean, issue-focused, self-affirming race. The ETN espoused a hope for change, for new direction, for an outsider to bring civility, experience, sensitivity and sense to civic leadership. Almi Clerkin is that change.
– Marshall Mack, Erie