Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Union City, NJ Mayoral Re-election

So last night was the first night in a while on the re-election campaign. We're working on Petition for Nominations, as well as some voter registration.

I arrived at Union City First just before 5pm. Since I hadn't been there in a while, I wanted to have a minute to catch up on what's been happening, and to make sure that they still needed help. We're less than 50 days from election! The show got started a bit late, so I was getting a bit cranky in a super crowded room. As I've mentioned before, no matter how early I get there, I always seem to be shoved to the very back. Maybe it's my Canadian modesty, but I just can't bear to do the same pushing and shoving to the front as others do. Between the crowds, the constant ringing of cellphones, the cellophane wrappers as people snacked, and the endless chatter, I was ready to leave. I'm about to sound like an old grouch, but here goes. I totally get that people are enthusiastic. I am very happy that Mayor Stack has such staunch supporters. I'm sure that he, and the Board of Commissioners are thrilled with volunteer turnout. But I think they'll need to invest in a megaphone so that people at the back of the room can hear. I also think they'll need to invest in a sign, or run something like a movie trailer that goes "please silence your pagers, cellphones, pocket games, etc. Please also help us get through all of the instructions easily by not chatting to your neighbor, not making dinner plans on the phone, not sifting through your handbag looking for a candy, not crumpling papers, and not interrupting. There will be a question and answer period at the end."

I finally couldn't take it anymore and waited outside until the room cleared a little. I'm confident enough that whatever paperwork was required wouldn't prove too challenging, and since I was ready to wring some necks (Lady with the red hair talking on phone, I mean you), I thought I'd calm down a little. Standing outside was the best thing as I was spotted by Alicia who was putting together groups of the more experienced volunteers. She quickly assigned me to a team, and off we went.

I was put with a nice couple - or at least I think they were a couple. My guess is that the woman (I can't believe I don't remember her name) is a teacher. She had a teacher-like handbag and three pens that worked. Her partner/husband/friend was Juan, and he drove. Nice ride btw, a 2010 Lincoln SUV. You'd think the economy wasn't in the toilet. I was supremely comfortable. We were assigned a block pretty close to home, so I was familiar with the landscape.

We didn't have too much luck. We couldn't get anyone to let us in at a few buildings. Nobody even answered the doorbell, even after a few aggressive buzz-buzzes. We had more luck at the next building. A woman in one apartment looked pretty identical to my friend Liz Eustace. She was busy trying to keep her two dogs from escaping, but she was super nice, and signed our petition. We didn't have any more luck in that building - either not home, or not citizens.

At the next building we encountered Grouchy McGrouch. After a few buzzes on the bells, he came out and stood at the door, but didn't open it. He said "you can't come in". We identified ourselves and asked him if he could tell us which apartment the super was in. He told us that he's not allowed to open the door, and we had better leave or else he'd call the super. Yes! call the super, that's exactly what we want! But he just scowled and walked away. Oh well, we'll try another day.

We found another really nice person. A little old lady, probably 90, and as spry as I am at half her age (just freaked myself out to be reminded how close I am to 90). She insisted that she would only sign if we could guarantee that it was a petition for Brian Stack and his commissioners. She absolutely would not sign for any other candidates. How's that for support?

The block wasn't very high density, so we made pretty quick time. We went back to the campaign office, and Juan and Ms. X drove me home, which was a treat. I'm totally buying a Lincoln SUV when I have too much money. Until then, it's foot power.

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