19 April, 2011

How The St. Albans Peoples Party Should Differentiate Themselves From The Citizens Party

In yesterday's post I said that the St. Albans Peoples Party is back from the dead.

But how will the new, resurrected St. Albans Peoples Party differentiate themselves from the incumbent Citizens Party?

I encourage the St. Albans People Party to start by being more transparent than the Callagarchy has been. Don't conduct secret executive committee meetings at which you hand pick candidates before you have considered the entire universe of possible candidates.

Yesterday I received pseudonymous hate mail from a reader who said I should run for office if I think I can do better than the Callagarchy has done. The hate mailer obviously hadn't read my blog. Had she read it, she would have known that I have consistently said St. Albans needs Gen X and Gen Y leaders who can attract and retain a younger demographic to the city. I'm a baby boomer. It would be hypocritical of me to run.

But I'll gladly and enthusiastically campaign for visionary Gen X and Gen Y candidates who want to make St. Albans city government more transparent and more accountable.

If the newly resurrected Peoples Party wants to send a clear message that they are not the Callagarchy, not the business-as-usual, private club party, they will put up a website, post the names and the contact info for their executive committee, and announce public meetings at which voters can ask questions and even offer to run for office as Peoples Party candidates.

Much of the new Peoples Party executive team has education or law enforcement ties so they will be tempted to go behind closed doors and select candidates from the law enforcement and education arenas without really considering other capable, eligible people. That would be a mistake.

The best way for the newly-alive St. Albans Peoples Party to demonstrate that they are not just Callagarchy Lite is for them to be very public and inclusive about what they do, to reach out to the entire city, beyond their own social circles and beyond their comfort zones. St. Albans is full of capable people who have never been allowed to serve, never been asked to serve. Reach out to them.

While you're at it, reach out to the many people in St. Albans whose contributions to the city have never really been acknowledged.

Don't be like the Callagarchy which, in the April St. Albans Monthly, spends several self-congratulatory pages crowing about its management of the St. Albans water company. Did they give credit to the technicians and the staff who did the work? No, but Callagarchy members Tim Sheldon, Mayor Callaway, Jerry Cogar, Ron Colby and Frank Offutt were prominently photographed.

So, Peoples Party, now that you have been born again, eschew the ways of the past and the ways of the Callagarchy. Give credit where credit is due. Be transparent. Reach out to the entire town, beyond your own friends and family.

Put up a website and fill it with the kind of information prospective voters will want. After you get the website up, don't just send the link to your friends, buy an ad in the St. Albans Monthly and tell everybody where to read about the re-born Peoples Party and how it differs from the Callagarchy. In your ad, print the names of your executives. Print email addresses and/or phone numbers and encourage potential candidates to contact you. Be accountable and transparent to the people from the start.
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