Not running for office

Vote in New York for school budgets on May 17

First, I should make it crystal clear that I am NOT planning to run for office. I found this question on Quora asking people to show the Presidential electoral college map based on the states they had visited.

I should define “visited”, I suppose. Almost every blue state I have slept in, except two: Delaware and South Carolina. But I have eaten in both of them. Delaware was a stop to and/or from some antiwar demonstration in DC. Re: South Carolina, my father went there in order to sell stuff when he used to sell at flea markets.

Mississippi I was in very briefly c. 1970 on a trip with a bunch of teens from my high school. We went to either Shelby or Fayette County, Tennessee, described to us as one of the poorest counties in the United States at the time. We were walking down this dirt road and crossed into Mississippi, went a short distance, then decided it may not be that safe for a bunch of young integrated Northerners.

At some level, when I was much younger, I suppose I thought I would someday consider running for public office. I was president of the student government in my high school. Someone signing my high school yearbook anticipated that I would be president of the United States one day!

When I ran for the Financial Council at SUNY New Paltz, it was a discouraging process. For one thing, there was quite likely voter fraud. Also, there were members of the Council who were… not as scrupulous as they might have been.


But mostly, I just hate campaigning. I’ve carried petitions in 1974 for a Congressional candidate named Matt McHugh, who won. But I really hate getting folks to sign papers, though I’ve done so four other times.

There was a time in this century when I did actually consider running for office. There was a guy who ran MULTIPLE times for Albany Public Library trustee. How do I say this politely? OK, he was a neo-Nazi. And if he were likely to get elected – if there were only two slots and he was one of two candidates, I would have scurried to get on the ballot. And if I were too late, I would have run a write-in campaign. Fortunately, this never happened.

In fact, this year for the library board, I understand that there were 17 people carrying petitions for the four slots open. And I know two of them personally. “The library budget vote and trustee election are held in conjunction with the City School District of Albany budget vote.” The vote is on May 17; the polling places are NOT always the same as the primary and general election sites.

40 years ago: the Student Government held hostage

As the only ethnic minority on the Financial Council, I was one of the folks selected to negotiate.

SUNY_New_Paltz_main_quadI got elected to the Financial Council at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the spring of 1974 but didn’t take office until the fall. We passed a budget, which was, I’m guessing, only incrementally different from the previous year’s.

This displeased two student groups, the Black Student Union and Hermanos Latinos. So much so, that one night while we were meeting, they sat in our offices, refusing to leave until the groups got in their allocations the percentage of funds equivalent to the percentage of blacks and Hispanics on campus.

Don’t know what that was then; the school is now 5% black, and that was probably about the same then, but it’s 12% Hispanic now, far more than then.

In any case, a committee was formed to negotiate. As the only ethnic minority on the Council, I was one of the folks selected. The FC tried to note that there were lots of things that we paid for that benefited everyone, such as the Oracle newspaper, radio station WNPC, and ombudsman; this was largely an unsuccessful line of discussion.

Ultimately, the FC agreed to the demands, and the groups left. Almost immediately, the FC head froze EVERYONE’S budget, and a day or two later reinstated a budget that was fairly close to our original budget, with perhaps token increases to the two groups. Oddly enough, they didn’t come back to complain, for which I was extremely grateful.

This experience oddly soured me on me running for elective office. Nothing that has happened since has negated that thought, and in fact has only strengthened it.

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