From Jim McCarthy,
Candidate Alexandra Harwin Asked Me to Send You All This Note
Earlier this evening (April 23rd) I attended a meet and greet Alexandra Harwin held at a Downtown business. At the end of the evening she said that municipal election turnout is frequently light and because “people have a hard time processing information” that it would be helpful if we contacted our friends and neighbors and shared our impressions of the evening’s session.
Ok, not my idea but I always try to be helpful when someone asks me to do something for him or her.
My overall impression of Candidate Harwin was one of insufficient substance and a lack of familiarity with the issues to such a degree that I do not understand what she offers to the Village.
The candidate is clearly bright, but anyone who has been to more than 1 Village Council Meeting (a category that may not include Ms. Harwin) knows these are not Mensa conventions.
The platform consisted of only 4 planks, 3 of which came across as pure platitudes:
A revitalized downtown
These were presented as if the incumbent candidates support higher taxes, worse services and have downtown decay as a goal. Luckily they don’t, and they have the added benefit of an extensive command of the facts and a demonstrated willingness to do what’s right in a professional and civil way despite being relentlessly bullied and subjected to slanderous attacks.
Stylistically, there was a large amount of talking at people about the theoretical components of a problem like parking (eg it is because there is a multi-year “overall shift toward more a more parking intensive set of service oriented businesses like restaurants and nail salons”- mystery solved) but not much substance on solutions, nor any demonstrated familiarity with the history that preceded this moment in time. There was also a fair amount of ungracious Monday morning quarterbacking about things the Council had done to try and solve various issues (eg “the downtown valet experiment was ill conceived”). Those who cannot do teach; those who have not even tried commentate.
The one area in which Ms. Harwin spoke more passionately was about inclusion. I agree with her overall conclusion that the Council’s handling of the Pride Flag display was not good. I completely disagree with her theory as to the cause. There is no evidence in the record that the Mayor, Deputy Mayor or any other Council member was unsympathetic to the issues represented by the LGBTQ community. In prior years the Council authorized display of the flag but in this case the request got bogged down. If you have spent any time watching the Council work, the overall style was consistent with their usual methodical and process oriented mindset. But that missed the boat on the empathy and emotional side. In direct conversation with the Mayor, I know she feels similarly and she has expressed a resolve to do better this time around.
In summary, I was left with the impression of a candidate who has much less to offer the Village than the Village needs. We have capable and dedicated candidates in Susan Knudsen and Mike Sedon, who while human and imperfect, are the most engaged, capable and collaborative people on the ballot. I hope this helps you all if you are having trouble processing all the available information ☺.